Ledger Stax, Nano X and Nano S Plus reviews
An in-depth comparison of the three Ledger hardware wallets to help you decide which one is right for you
So, what are the differences between Ledger Stax, Ledger Nano X and Ledger Nano S Plus?
That’s the question that arises when you finally figure out that it’s time to secure your cryptos with a device produced by the leading brand of hardware wallets.
Take care of your coins
Computer malwares able to steal the private keys, exchanges hackings and the increase in bankruptcies of financial intermediaries, make self-custody the right choice.
I bet you have heard of at least someone who lost all his money in the bankruptcies of BlockFi, Celsius, FTX and others.
However, not just self-custody, the safest way to store and manage your cryptos is by means of devices known as “hardware wallet”, which Ledger’s are.
Hardware wallets are electronic devices whose core feature is the protection of the “private keys” from the outside world.
In other terms, hardware wallets implement various technologies to prevent the private keys from being exposed on potentially malware-infected computers and smartphones.
By leveraging these devices, your “secret” never leaves the tamper-proof area of the device and is never exposed to the Internet.
The device gets only to broadcast, through your computer or smartphone, an already signed transaction. However it never shares the private keys.
This is what secures your cryptos, even though the device were to be connected to a compromised machine.
Through this comparison between Ledger Nano S Plus, Ledger Nano X and Ledger Stax, let’s see which device is able to do the job best.
Ledger’s triade: Nano S Plus, Nano X and Stax
Ledger comes to the market with three “flavors” of hardware wallets:
- Ledger Nano S Plus
- Ledger Nano X
- Ledger Stax
The Nano S Plus was launched in 2022 as an enhanced version of the old “Ledger Nano S”, which is no longer for sale.
First seen in 2016, the Ledger Nano S was a huge success. However its technology became soon obsolete, so Ledger decided to replace it with a new device similar to the Nano S though superior in terms of storage space and screen size.
The Nano X was introduced in 2019 to provide a ready-to-use wireless solution for the users of the Ledger hardware wallet.
Previously, the Nano S could only be used wired and primarily with desktop computers and laptops. Mobile connection was available with a poor user experience, only through an OTG cable and for Android smartphones only.
The Nano X came into existence along with a native mobile app (Ledger Live). It integrates the bluetooth connection, which allows a seamlessly interaction with smartphones.
The Ledger Stax was announced to the public in December 2022, with first deliveries expected in Q4 2023.
It was invented by Tony Fadell, creator of the iPod, and built by Ledger.
This next generation of Web3 hardware is meant to bring the user experience to a new level of interaction, going beyond the simple storage and management of cryptos.
The Ledger Stax comes with a unique design for unprecedented interactivity with the world of cryptos, NFTs and digital ownership.
The Nano S Plus and the Nano X mainly focus on crypto storage, however digital assets are increasingly about identity and digital ownership.
This evolution called for a more mainstream device: the Ledger Stax.
Ledger Stax, Nano X and Nano S Plus comparison
Let’s now dig into a more in-depth analysis of the characteristics of the Ledger Stax, as well as those of the Nano X and Nano S Plus.
As for security, all three devices implement a “secure element” certified using the Common Criteria (CC) EAL5+ process.
This secure chip is locked through a PIN code, so that cryptos could be moved only if two conditions hold:
- the device is unlocked
- and the transaction gets approval by signing it with the pressure of the mechanical buttons (Nano S Plus and Nano X) or by tapping the touchscreen (Ledger Stax)
From the security point of view there are no significant differences between the devices, which roughly implement the same technology.
The Nano S Plus comes with a USB-C to USB-A cable.
It doesn’t feature bluetooth, as it has been designed for wired use only.
The Nano S Plus can be physically connected to desktop computers or laptops (64-bit architecture only) through the USB-C to USB-A cable provided in the box, but even to Android smartphones with an OTG cable.
The Nano X features both wired and wireless connection, since it comes with a USB-C to USB-A cable and it also integrates bluetooth communication.
The Ledger Stax has a more modern USB-C to USB-C cable, as well as bluetooth integration.
If you are afraid of bluetooth connection, bear in mind that the bluetooth communication is end-to-end encrypted. In any case, you can disabile the bluetooth anytime if you don’t need it.
But even if, hypothetically, an hacker were able to compromise the bluetooth transport, it would not be able to steal the private keys, which stay stored within the protected area of the device.
To sum it up, both the Nano X and the Ledger Stax provide two options:
- using them wireless with your smartphone, thanks to the bluetooth connection
- physically connect them to desktop computers or laptops (64-bit architecture only) via the USB cables provided in the box
Bear in mind that the bluetooth interaction is only available for mobile devices, not for desktop computers and laptops.
The Nano S Plus has no battery, since it is meant to be used via cable only.
If you unplug your Nano S Plus, it will simply turn off immediately.
The Nano X is equipped with a lithium-ion 100 mAh battery.
It will last up to 8 hours in case of use, or some months (up to 3) if the device is idle on a full charge.
The battery can be recharged by connecting the device to a desktop computer or laptop via the USB cable, otherwise through a power bank.
The Ledger Stax comes with a lithium-ion 200 mAh battery.
Due to the complexity and the more advanced features of the Ledger Stax, exact battery life depends on usage, device settings, and other factors. Nevertheless it can stay on for several months when left unused and at full charge.
The Ledger Stax also supports wireless Qi charging.
Both the Nano S Plus and the Nano X have the same storage space: 1.8 Mb.
As for Ledger Stax, according to Ledger FAQs it features 1.5 Mb of storage space.
I can assume this is due to the higher space taken up by the Ledger Stax’s more complex operating system.
Anyway, the capacity of the three devices is roughly the same as they allow to store up to 100 apps depending on their size.
Should you run out of space, you will be able to delete some app(s) to get space for others. For instance, if you want to install the Cardano app, but the memory is full, you should first delete another one (for example the Cosmos app).
Obviously the deletion of an app does not result in the loss of the relative crypto. You will simply need to install that app again.
Both the Nano S Plus and and the Nano X come with an AMOLED (128x64 px) screen.
This is a basic display, which can be used to sign and send transactions, check addresses and browse the device settings.
The screen is large enough to check the transaction details and perform various operations.
The Ledger Stax features a black and white E Ink curved touchscreen with 16 scales of grey. The screen size is 3.7 inch and has a 400x672 px resolution.
This is a next generation display covering the front and curving around the spine, allowing to give your device the name and style you prefer.
You can customize the lock screen with your favorite photo or NFT. The lock screen is always on, even when the Ledger Stax is off.
The Ledger Stax features the largest display size of all Ledger devices, hence you can read, understand, and sign transactions with ease.
Composition and design
The Nano S Plus and the Nano X look like a small USB pendrive.
They are made of a brushed stainless steel rotating sheat which encloses the plastic interior.
The Nano S Plus has the control buttons at the top, above the screen, while the Nano X arranges these two buttons on the same face of the screen, at either end of it.
The Nano S Plus size is 62.39mm x 17.40mm x 8.24mm, while the Nano X is a little bigger with a size of 72mm x 18.6mm x 11.75mm.
The Ledger Stax is made of aluminum and plastic with embedded magnets for stackability.
It’s a credit-card-sized device with an exact dimension of 85mm x 54mm x 6mm, which makes it bigger than the Nano S Plus and the Nano X.
The Ledger Stax has six magnets that make this device easily stackable, if you own multiple devices for different purposes.
The curved E Ink spine shows what’s inside according to name given to the device. It’s like a book on a shelf.
The Ledger Stax has no physical buttons as it’s fully touchscreen and controllable with finger gestures only.
Which Ledger hardware wallet is for you?
If your budget isn’t tight, I would immediately suggest that you choose the top-of-the-range device.
The Ledger Stax has all the basic features of the other devices, as well as a series of characteristics that make it unique in its genre.
Nonetheless, there could be several reasons for preferring one device over another.
Why choose the Ledger Nano S Plus?
The Nano S Plus is the cheapest solution.
Overall it has nearly the same features as the Ledger Nano X, with the same storage space and the same screen resolution.
What the Nano S Plus lacks is the bluetooth connection. Therefore it may be suitable for you if you are fine with an exclusively wired connection.
The Nano S Plus can be connected via cable to desktop computers or laptops, or to Android smartphones through an OTG cable.
If you want to spend as little as possible and you aren’t particularly picky, the Nano S Plus is the device to go for.
---> LEDGER NANO S PLUS
Why choose the Ledger Nano X?
The Nano X was designed for mobile use. This is what really makes it different from the Nano S Plus.
The Nano X Is the right choice if you want to manage your cryptos on-the-go without cables.
Thanks to the bluetooth feature of the Nano X you will be able to send and receive cryptos, or to interact with DeFi and other crypto-related apps, anytime and anywhere.
It’s a little more expensive than the Nano S Plus but less than the Ledger Stax, making it a good compromise.
---> LEDGER NANO X
Why choose the Ledger Stax?
The Ledger Stax is to let you experience the security of a Ledger hardware wallet in an innovative design, with the first curved E Ink touch screen.
It Is made to be customized, since you can give your Ledger Stax a unique name and set its lock screen to your favourite NFT or photo.
With the Ledger Stax you can showcase your favourite digital collectibles or photo art on your device’s E Ink screen, even when it’s off, making it always recognizable.
It has been also built for better understanding what you are doing. The E Ink display, that covers the front and curves around the spine, allows you to view your complete transaction details at a glance.
So, the Ledger Stax is designed with a unique form for unprecedented accessibility and interactivity with the world of cryptos and NFTs.
This hardware wallet is the most expensive, but if your budget isn’t tight it’s the device to buy in order to enjoy a completely innovative experience.
Ledger Stax will start shipping as soon as possible. You can preorder it on the Ledger official web store.
---> Preorder LEDGER STAX
Technical details recap
Generally speaking, Ledger devices are among the best hardware wallets.
They are well designed, very safe as they have never been hacked, though practical and easy to use.
Last but not least, they are the most widely supported crypto devices across third-party wallets and blockchain apps and services that any crypto user would love to use.
Here is a summary of the technical specifications of the different devices.
Ledger Nano S Plus specs:
Connection = wired only
Cable = USB-C to USB-A
Battery = not available
Charging mode = none
Storage space = 1.8 Mb
Screen type = AMOLED 128x64px
Dimension = 62.39mm x 17.40mm x 8.24mm
Weight = 21g
Colours = mattle black, BTC orange, ice, deepsea blue, mystic white
Ledger Nano X specs:
Connection = bluetooth and wired
Cable = USB-C to USB-A
Battery = lithium-ion 100 mAh
Charging mode = wired
Storage space = 1.8 Mb
Screen type = AMOLED 128x64px
Dimension = 72mm x 18.6mm x 11.75mm
Weight = 34g
Colours = onyx black, blazing orange, cosmic purple
Ledger Stax specs:
Connection = bluetooth and wired
Cable = USB-C to USB-C
Battery = lithium-ion 200 mAh
Charging mode = Qi wireless
Storage space = 1.5 Mb
Screen type = E Ink® 400x672 px
Dimension = 85mm x 54mm x 6mm
Weight = 45.2g
Colours = black
I hope this article helped you understand the differences between Ledger Nano S Plus, Ledger Nano X and Ledger Stax. If you have any doubts or questions, write me in the comments below.
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