Ledger Nano S vs Ledger Nano X - January 2022

Ledger Nano S and X review to help you take full control of your crypto-assets

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You have finally decided to secure your precious cryptocurrencies and that is the question: what is the difference between Ledger Nano S and Ledger Nano X?

Now that Bitcoin has reached and far exceeded its historic 2017 all-time highs, the value of your crypto-assets is getting more and more important.

If you wish to fully protect your money against online threats, that’s exactly what both Ledger Nano S and Ledger Nano X “magically” do…

What makes these devices so safe? Furthermore, as of January 2022 which is the best Ledger device to shut the door on hackers?

Thanks to this comparison between Ledger Nano S and Ledger Nano X, you are going to know why a Ledger wallet neutralizes hacker attacks, which device best suits your needs and how to save on purchases.

What are Ledger Nano S and Ledger Nano X?

Ledger Nano S was launched in 2016, becoming an essential tool for people who deal with crypto stuff.

In a short time it established itself as the symbol of hardware wallets. These are devices designed with specific features that fully protect the private keys, also known as “cold storage”.

Ledger Nano S has been defeating the competition of Trezor and other brand’s devices, such that by now every enthusiast, trader or investor can’t do without the “key” manufactured by the French firm.

However a new and more innovative device has been around since 2019, being called Ledger Nano X. Why a new one?

To know that, let’s dig into the differences between Ledger Nano S and Ledger Nano X. At the bottom I am also going to link a tutorial to teach you how to get started with your new device.

Ledger Nano S

Ledger Nano S is a hardware wallet and, as such, never exposes the private keys it uses to sign transactions.

Ledger Nano S actually is a micro PC with its own O.S. called “Blockchain Open Ledger Operating System", or BOLOS.

This device transfers data to PCs via the USB Micro-B to USB-A cable provided in the box.

Ledger Nano S being connected to a laptop via USB cable
Ledger Nano S being connected to a laptop via USB cable
Ledger Nano S being connected to a laptop via USB cable - Source: Ledger website

The private keys stay stored in a tamper proof memory area, accessible by the Ledger hardware only following O.S. calls.

These private keys are protected by a “secure element”.

This secure chip is locked through a PIN code and is certified using the Common Criteria (CC) EAL5+ process.

In simple terms, even if you were to use your Ledger Nano S on infected computers, your cryptocurrencies would not be at risk: the private keys never leave the protected area of the device.

Indeed, Ledger devices are the safest commercial solution ever. They can effectively protect your money against the recurring cyber attacks.

All the operations are controlled through two buttons only and are displayed on the device screen.

In order to send a transaction it is mandatory to sign it by physically pressing the mechanical buttons of the device, after checking on the screen the amount and the destination address.

A transaction gets authorized only when you physically press the buttons. This means that no malware can steal your cryptocurrencies.

Ledger Nano X

Ledger Nano X is based on the same security features as Ledger Nano S, though its secure element chip (ST33) is more powerful than the one provided for Ledger Nano S (ST31).

First of all this makes it more responsive.

Anyway, what makes Ledger Nano X truly unique is that it is designed for mobile use.

It integrates bluetooth communication, such that it can be used wireless via smartphones or tablets thanks to “Ledger Live” mobile app.

This is a low energy (BLE) connectivity, thanks to which the device does not need a large battery.

Sending a transaction via smartphone using Ledger Nano X
Sending a transaction via smartphone using Ledger Nano X
Sending a transaction via smartphone using Ledger Nano X - Source: Ledger website

In order to protect user’s privacy, bluetooth connection is end-to-end encrypted.

Even if hackers were to manage to compromise bluetooth transport, they would not be able to get the private keys or to sign a transaction that the user does not want to send.

At this point the reason should be clear to you: the private keys always stay within the secure chip that protects them.

Anyway, if you don’t need wireless connection you will be able to disable bluetooth anytime.

Ledger Nano X can be used via its USB-C to USB-A cable as well, by connecting the device either to PCs or laptops.

In simple terms, Ledger Nano X allows you to choose the option you prefer:

1) you can use it both with your smartphone and with your tablet thanks to the bluetooth connection;

2) you can connect it to your PC or laptop (64-bit architecture only) via the USB cable provided in the box.

As for storage, Ledger Nano X features more storage space than Ledger Nano S. Its capacity is 1.8 Mb while Ledger Nano S features only 160 Kb.

It supports up to 100 applications simultaneously installed, though the actual capacity depends on the size of the apps.

Ledger Nano X battery capacity is 100 mAh.

It can be charged by connecting the device either to a PC or a laptop via the USB cable, otherwise through a power bank.

Battery life is up to 8 hours in case of use while it is some months (up to 3) if the device is idle.

Ledger Nano X screen (128x64) is bigger than that of Ledger Nano S (128x32).

The larger the screen size the better you can view both the details of transactions you are going to send and the addresses where you want to receive your funds.

Should you buy Ledger Nano S or Ledger Nano X?

I have just explained the different characteristics of Ledger hardware wallets. It is time to figure out which one is the preferable choice for your use case.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. The choice depends on the concrete needs of the user.

You may need just one specific device, or both for using them in combination, or even further devices.

Picking Ledger Nano S

If you are a long term holder that only rarely sends transactions, a Ledger Nano S to be used either via PC or laptop might be suitable for you.

If you think that you will never need to send or receive cryptocurrencies via smartphone or via tablet, at any time and wherever you may be, maybe you could give up buying a Ledger Nano X.

All in all Ledger Nano S is not suitable especially for users who need a device to be used at any time along with smartphones or tablets, without being compelled to physically connect it to PCs or laptops.

Anyway, if a wired connection is not a bother, you can still link your Ledger Nano S to Android smartphones or tablets through this OTG cable.

Aside from its technical features, you may decide to pick a Ledger Nano S because it costs less. Ledger Nano S is cheaper than Ledger Nano X because is older and has more limited functions.

Picking Ledger Nano X

Would you like to have the best crypto hardware wallet?

Ledger Nano X is the appropriate solution for users who want to be able to send transactions even via smartphones or tablets, when they are not at home or have not a laptop with them.

For instance, if you are on the beach and need to send a transaction - either for trading reasons or to pay something - but you only have a smartphone, you can send and receive cryptocurrencies at any time thanks to the bluetooth feature of Ledger Nano X.

Another reason to prefer a Ledger Nano X is for its increased storage space.

When Ledger Nano S memory is full, you are compelled to delete some apps to get space for others. For instance, if you want to install the Ethereum app but run out of space you must first delete another one (for example the Ripple app).

Obviously the deletion of an app does not result in the loss of the associated cryptocurrencies. Anyway many users consider cumbersome this procedure (delete and install again later).

Hence, from this point of view, Ledger Nano X is good for users who want to manage several cryptocurrencies and need to install multiple applications.

Bear in mind that Ledger Nano X can store up to 100 applications simultaneously, while Ledger Nano S storage space is only for 4 apps at most.

Ledger bundles

Not just a single Ledger Nano S or a single Ledger Nano X. The official Ledger website offers some interesting bundles as well.

These are designed to help new users understand and master the crypto world, or to offer more devices at a lower price.

Crypto Starter Pack

For crypto beginners Ledger provides the “Crypto Starter Pack”, based on Ledger Nano S.

This bundle includes:

  • Ledger Nano S
  • Digital guide for crypto newbies
  • $25 voucher to buy crypto
Crypto Starter Pack
Crypto Starter Pack
Crypto Starter Pack - Source: Ledger website

If you are a crypto newbie this should be tailor-made for you, since you would also get a guide to understand and master the basics of crypto and to get indications on how to get started with your Ledger device and buy crypto via Ledger Live.

But if you wish to use a Ledger Nano X, bear in mind that this bundle pack does not include it.

Ledger Backup Pack

You might consider worthwhile to purchase both Ledger Nano S and Ledger Nano X.

It is available a Ledger Nano S + Ledger Nano X bundle being called “Ledger Backup Pack”, which lets you save 50% on Ledger Nano S.

Should you decide to get both, you would manage the devices in the following way:

  • Ledger Nano X on-the-go, only to store a small amount you need in that moment;
  • Ledger Nano S at home or into a safe, to safely store the bulk of your cryptocurrencies.

Last but non least, you should take into consideration that your Ledger Nano X might break. In this case it would be temporarily replaced by your Ledger Nano S.

Gift idea! Should you feel like making a gift you could keep one device for you and give somebody the other as a present, taking advantage of the discount you will get on the price of Ledger Nano S.

Ledger Family Pack

Do you want to get your family into crypto?

Still few people are aware of that! Cryptocurrencies are going mainstream and people habits are going to change accordingly.

Soon in families each member will have his own crypto wallet, just as he now owns a common wallet for banknotes and coins.

That’s why Ledger launched the “Ledger Family Pack”. This is to introduce your relatives into crypto and help them to secure, manage and grow their assets.

Thanks to these promo bundles Ledger gives you 3 Ledger Nano S (Ledger Family Pack S) or 3 Ledger Nano X (Ledger Family Pack X), rebating 21% of the price.

Wrap-up

Ledger hardware wallets are similar to a small USB pendrive.

They are built with the highest quality materials which protect the device from physical damages. They have a sturdy plastic interior enclosed by a rotating metal sheath, which safeguard them in the event of a fall.

As for usage, a Ledger hardware wallet lets you do much more than just store your crypto.

By installing Ledger Live, from within this app, both Ledger Nano S and Ledger Nano X owners can buy, sell and stake cryptocurrencies, as well as use DeFi dApps , and even purchase gift cards of several brands with crypto through Bitrefill.

  • Buy and sell several different crypto-assets directly through Ledger Live in 130+ countries thanks to a service operated by Ledger’s partners Coinify and Wyre
  • Crypto-to-crypto swap with Ledger through Changelly (centralized), or in a decentralized and trustless manner via ParaSwap and 1inch.
  • Lend assets to earn interest on the Compound protocol from within Ledger Live
  • Stake crypto like Polkadot, Algorand, Cosmos, Tezos or Tron, and now even Ether through Lido
  • Rainbow.me integration enables you to visualize the NFTs secured by your hardware wallet
  • By combining Bitrefill with Ledger Live, you can now easily convert your Bitcoin and Ether into vouchers, gift cards and mobile refills

Last but not least, Ledger devices are not only designed to store and manage cryptocurrencies.

Both Ledger Nano S and Ledger Nano X can be also used as devices for two-factor authentication through the FIDO Universal Second Factor (U2F) standard.

This is not related to cryptocurrencies. It is an additional feature for your Ledger device to secure online accounts.

Ledger Nano S features

  • Secure element chip (ST31)
  • Wired connection only
  • USB Micro-B to USB-A cable
  • Less storage space (160 Kb)
  • Smaller screen (128x32)
  • Two factor authentication (U2F) feature
  • Colored (transparent, black, yellow, blue, pink and green)
  • Engraved swivel covers (sold separately) to give a unique look to your Ledger Nano S
Ledger Nano S colors
Ledger Nano S colors
Ledger Nano S colors - Source: Ledger website

Ledger Nano X features

  • More powerful secure element chip (ST33)
  • Bluetooth and wired connection
  • USB-C to USB-A cable
  • More storage space for apps (1.8 Mb)
  • Larger screen (128x64)
  • Two factor authentication (U2F) feature
  • Unicolor (black)
Ledger Nano X monochrome (black)
Ledger Nano X monochrome (black)
Ledger Nano X monochrome (black) - Source: Ledger website

Why should you prefer a Ledger hardware wallet over those of other brands?!

Because Ledger devices are among the best hardware wallets, well designed, very safe, practical and easy to use (follow the Ledger Nano X tutorial below).

Never forget these are the most widely supported crypto devices across third-party wallets (e.g., by Samsung Galaxy Blockchain Wallet) and blockchain apps and services you will want to use.

---> LEDGER NANO X TUTORIAL to learn how to get started with your new device and manage your cryptocurrencies.

Hopefully this Ledger Nano S vs Ledger Nano X review helps you figure out which device is right for you. Should you have any doubts or questions ask me in the comments below, even if you need technical assistance.

Disclosure: This post includes an affiliate link that allows you to securely get the devices via the official Ledger web store, avoiding fake websites and scams.

Belgian researcher and consultant, crypto activist and DeFi expert.