The debate among cryptocurrency users and experts about the use of wallets has been raging. While some claim to vouch for the security of hardware wallets, others claim that with portability and flexibility at its core, a software wallet is unbeatable.
Years since cryptocurrencies were invented and years since the first-ever wallet was used, the debate rages on – software or hardware? Hot or cold? If you’re a smart trader, you’ve followed the popular phrase “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” and distributed your crypto holdings across wallet categories.
If such is the case, you’ll naturally expect somewhat of a “best of both worlds” scenario – the best hardware wallet and the best software wallet. Here, we’ll discuss arguably the best hardware wallet out there – Trezor. This Trezor model T review will lend you insights into the features and usability of this premium wallet.
About Trezor Model T Review
Trezor Model T Basics
Before understanding the technical aspects of a wallet, it is necessary to understand its background – this helps you judge the credibility of the product and make sense of new announcements from the company. So, we’ll start this Trezor review with the basic questions – who and when?
The Trezor series’ Trezor One hardware wallet was the first-ever hardware wallet created and was closely followed by the invention of Ledger. The two of these companies are market leaders today, proving to be tough competitors for each other. When the first Trezor model, called simply Trezor One, was released, it was novel, useful, impressive, and many other things.
However, it was also incomplete in the sense that it lacked a wide array of features and security-related implementations that the growing cryptocurrency market needed. So, in 2014, the company behind Trezor – SatoshiLabs, came up with an enhanced, highly-advanced version of the traditional Trezor wallet – the Trezor T.
They call Trezor T the premium offering that bests Trezor One in every way. But, unfortunately, it also wins the old Trezor One in terms of pricing, proving to be much more expensive than the old version. So then, is this wallet value for money? That’s what we aim to answer as this Trezor wallet review progresses.
As is the case with any upgraded hardware, the Trezor Model T offers all the features offered by its predecessor, the Trezor One. It also offers many other additional features along with support for the newer cryptocurrencies.
The T model is ideal for all purposes – whether you’re a holder looking for short or long-term investments or a trader transacting cryptocurrencies on an intra-day or short-term basis. The most significant addition that this model has is a highly responsive touchscreen interface. This makes it more convenient and smoother to use the wallet. Not to mention, the cooler looks are a plus.
This touch screen allows you to enter your password or PIN directly on the device, which is significantly more hassle-free than the closest competition, Ledger Nano S or its own Trezor One model. Users rate this model highly in terms of usability because now they can use a touch that offers a premium feel to enter details rather than connecting their wallets to a computer to make it work.
The wallet supports over 1600 coins at the time of writing this Trezor review and includes every major cryptocurrency out there. You can find the updated, comprehensive list of the cryptocurrencies they support on their website. The website also mentions the ones that are soon to be added, so you can keep track of the future additions to the list. View the list here.
What You Should Expect Inside The Box
When you buy the wallet, in the box along with your Trezor T wallet, you’ll find:
- A USB cable to connect the wallet to your computer for retrieval or change of settings,
- A card with 24 blanks to write your recovery seed on,
Some stickers you could add to your traveling bags or on the wallet,
- A magnetic dock to mount your wallet on a wall. This may look like a crazy idea – anyone could find and steal your wallet with ease.
But if you use it smartly, you could mount the dock at places that are harder to locate and provide greater security – like under your desks, drawers, or other furniture, on a top-shelf or wall ceiling, etc.
The wallet also supports a USB type C and a microSD card, and the home screen is fully customizable. All in all, the wallet is pretty fun to use, and with the touchpad and other features, it offers a very complete, premium feel.
If you buy the wallet, you must make sure that it isn’t tampered with, or you may unintentionally be transferring all your cryptocurrencies to hackers. This Trezor model T review isn’t just to list down pros and cons but also to make you aware of best usage practices and much more. One such usage practice is to check the seal.
When you receive the wallet, the box may or may not be sealed – don’t panic regardless. When you see the wallet itself, you’ll notice the USB port on the wallet has been sealed with tape. If this tape appears rugged, torn, or in any way tampered with, your device may be compromised. In such a case, apply for a replacement and let the company know about this so they can take necessary actions.
Trezor T Advantages
A Trezor review is incomplete until it helps you identify both good and bad aspects of the wallet. Although the wallet has more pros than cons, nothing is perfect. So let’s start by looking at why this wallet is considered arguably the best hardware wallet in existence.
1. High-Grade Security
Trezor’s reputation stems from the fact that it offers industry-leading, state-of-the-art security. Unlike in most hardware wallets, the security features aren’t restricted to only physical or virtual attacks. The Trezor Model T has security features that protect your cryptocurrencies from virtual as well as physical thefts.
The wallet automatically generates a tree-like structure for public and private keys to be stored within itself. This means users need not generate any kinds of keys on their own. If you’re a beginner, understand this carefully – each time you wish to receive cryptocurrencies, you need to share a public address or key of your crypto wallet with the sender.
Likewise, each time you trade your currencies from within your wallet, you need to use a private key to allow cryptocurrencies to be transferred from your wallet. The problem? Each time you send or receive, you’ll need to create a random pair of these public and private keys and store them for use. As the number of transactions increases, this can become quite a pain.
Trezor is a type of what we call Hierarchical Deterministic wallet or HD wallet for short. As you’ve seen in this Trezor review, you must generate the pair of keys and store them for each transaction. An HD wallet does this for you. But how?
Hierarchical Deterministic wallets use a single master seed and implement a counter-based algorithm that we’ll not bore you with. Long story short, you don’t need to generate and store any keys. The wallet does it for you. You can back up your Trezor wallet with a 12-word recovery seed. Moreover, this seed is safe from hackers since it is generated offline and does not need internet connectivity.
The seed is displayed on your Trezor screen and can be used as you see fit without exposing it to the networking and risking compromises of keys. Remember, your wallet keys are always to be treated like your house or car keys. If they fall into the wrong hands, everyone has access to the wallet. This 12-word seed key can be used for recovery – you can use another Trezor wallet, even some software wallets such as Mycelium or Electrum.
We’ve already discussed the seal on the USB C port, but let’s see it a bit in-depth now. The tamper-proof seal is meant to warn users if their wallet was messed around. Now you may be wondering, okay, a sticker is helpful, but can it still not be removed, tampered with, the area cleaned, and the sticker put back again? This would give an impression that it was never removed, so how is it so beneficial?
Fair question, but you see, the sticker leaves a holographic residue that is always left behind when it is peeled away. This ensures that once it is removed, you’ll always notice that it was, regardless of any corrective measures taken to hide this fact. Pretty secure, right?
As this Trezor Model T review progresses, you’ll understand that the process to set up the wallet is pretty simple, but for now, we focus on one of the steps – the PIN verification. Whenever you initially set up the device and each time you send cryptocurrencies, you’ll be prompted to enter a PIN.
The PIN keyboard is always shuffled at random to keep your password safe from privy eyes and overly curious bystanders for added security. To add to this, the PIN details aren’t shared with or stored in your computer either. Let me explain.
The older Trezor wallets (Trezor One) would store PIN details like PIN length on your computer when you connected the wallet with the computer or any device for that matter. However, the Trezor Model T does not share any such info.
Another security feature to look out for is the “Tropic Square” initiative by Trezor. It stands for TRuly OPen Integrated Circuit. This project aims to develop an open-source element chip for use in wallets for added security. This shall ensure that you don’t have to rely on third-party companies that build the chips.
These companies or creators could always find the proverbial backdoor within their creation, exploit it, and pose a threat to your wallet. The Tropic Square project takes the manufacturer out of the equation, ensuring greater reliability and peace of mind among users.
2. Wide Support
The wallet supports over 1600 digital assets, including all major cryptocurrencies like BTC, ETH, XRP, LINK, BNN, and many more. This is particularly a great feature for all those who believe in diversifying their investments and aim not to put all their eggs in one basket.
Apart from major coins, the wallet supports many lesser-known and upcoming coins, making it easy for investors and traders looking to invest in niche coins to begin the investment and trading process. The list includes over 1000 ERC-20 tokens, making it a wallet that supports some of the largest numbers of cryptocurrencies in the world.
3. Touchscreen For Ease Of Trading
A very prominent feature that users in almost every Trezor model T review praise are the touchscreen. This latest addition has made way in favor of the traditional Trezor One interface that had two buttons.
But that’s not it. This touch design is about more than just looks. Usually, trading coins from a hardware wallet is a lengthy, tedious process. With Trezor Model T, the touchpad is integrated with the new Trezor bridge to make trading coins smooth and simple – you won’t just find trading easy; you’ll grow to love it, too.
However, not all that glitters is gold. The touchscreen does look stunning and offers a superior feel, but the fact that it’s a small hand-held wallet makes it harder to operate on the touch screen. So, just like you get used to the dimensions of a new smartphone, you’ll need to use the wallet for a while so you can get accustomed to the feel and the size of the touchscreen.
Of course, once you do, you’ll hardly ever wish for a downgrade from a touch to a button interface.
4. Quick Set-Up
Hardware wallets usually take a lot of time to set up because the steps include connecting it to a device, setting the seed key, noting it down, and many sub-steps during these. But a complete Trezor Model T review will always mention that there is no such bother for Trezor T. With this wallet, you can set up the wallet without setting the seed/recovery key.
This means you need not set the seed immediately as you initially set up the wallet. Instead, you can come back at a later time and set the same. With most wallets, you’re forced to set this before you can proceed to store your coins and trade. With this wallet, speed, efficiency, and security are all covered well.
5. The Corazon Upgrade
When you read about Trezor T in any Trezor review, it’s often abundantly clear that the features it offers are industry-leading. However, what if you could get more? How about a sturdier, more secure, stunningly designed version of Trezor T?
That’s precisely what Corazon is – a Trezor and Gray initiative that houses the wallet in aerospace-grade titanium. It has multiple variants, and although it’s more expensive than the Trezor wallet, it’s an amazing choice to purchase.
With a mechanically textured surface finish, a best-in-class anti-tamper design, ultrasonic welding, it is shock, fire, water, and vibrations resistant. The company claims that even floods, tsunamis, earthquakes cannot damage your wallet – that’s one heck of a claim.
However, be warned, this is like life insurance for your wallet with a one-time payment, so it’s not going to be cheap. Nevertheless, the basic version should most likely be adequate for you unless you can afford the others and wish to make a statement among those you show it to. This basic model costs about $950 while the best one, the rose gold variant, costs $1,999.
6. Shamir’s Secret Sharing Scheme
This is a simple mechanism to break your keys into ‘n’ parts and then be able to retrieve your wallet using ‘m’ keys. This is also known as the n-of-m key shares implementation, where you can break your key into, say, five parts.
Distribute these parts anywhere you want – keep one in your car, another at home, give one to your brother, and one to your friend. Keep the last one in your wallet or tie it to your dog’s collar. You can choose how many of these should be required to unlock your wallet.
This means, if you decide three parts are enough, you can lose two of the parts and still unlock your wallet with the remaining three. This ensures greater protection against unexpected damages like accidents or natural calamities where your key might get destroyed.
7. Use The Password Manager Or Go Password-less With FIDO2
The wallet doubles up as a password manager for you. It can store all your passwords as you connect your various online accounts with it. It can then auto-fill these for you to make life easier. Of course, passwords are already being seen as something that may not be around for a very long time.
You can, in that case, use a FIDO2 authentication that will allow you to sign in only when the wallet sends its unique signature to the website. This means you can only log in using this device. However, if you’re using this wallet to hold a large volume of digital assets, it is not recommended you use them because your passwords could be targeted. With that, your wallet could be compromised, and you may end up losing all your cryptocurrencies.
8. Using the CLI
This is something you may not come across even in the most popular Trezor wallet review. You can use the Trezor command-line interface to enter commands. This ensures that the wallet does exactly what you want it to. This is particularly useful at times when the touchpad is malfunctioning, or you wish to ensure that the firmware hasn’t been tampered with and is doing exactly what it should.
Trezor T – Disadvantages
1. Bulky to Carry
The size and dimensions of this wallet aren’t huge, but they’re not very pocket-friendly, either. Many reviews and our own usage experience prove that the wallet could bulge from your pockets and is not the best to carry around unless you place it inside a backpack or something similar.
2. Cannot Work Directly with an iOS Device
The wallet can be connected only to Android devices as of now, which can be a no-no if you’re an Apple user. Some people even have an entire ecosystem of Apple, from MacBook and Apple Smartwatches to iPhones – ensure you’re able to use the wallet to its full extent in such cases before purchasing it.
Pricing and Price Comparisons
At the time of writing this Trezor review, the price range for the wallet is somewhere between $160 and $170. This is more than double the price of the older version, the Trezor One, but it is entirely worth it.
If you compare this with the closest competitor, Ledger Nano X, the price difference is around $20 to $30 – Ledge is cheaper. However, Nano X does not include a touchpad, which means a lot of hassle, no bragging rights, and lower usability stars.
You’re paying about 10% more for the touchscreen feature, which is one of the best ones out there. When you think of it this way, the choice becomes rather obvious – Trezor is the way to go for long-term usability ease as well as the premium design and features.
You must make sure of when it comes to hardware wallets because you can NEVER buy them from third parties. These third parties could be your friends, neighbors, colleagues, or even e-commerce platforms such as eBay. Buy the wallets ONLY and ONLY from authorized sellers like Trezor, Billfold, or any other authorized Trezor retailer.
When compared with its biggest competitor, the Ledger Nano S or X models, there isn’t much separating the Nano X and Trezor T models. However, over time you’ll realize the convenience and ease of use that a touchscreen pad entails.
With 1649 tokens supported at the time of writing this, this Trezor Model T review indicates one thing – the upgrade from Trezor One to Trezor T is justified. Go for the newer model if you want the ‘cooler,’ ‘showy’ version that provides robust design and some of the best features ever in a hardware wallet all packed into one.
Having said this, the basic features of Trezon One are often reasonably sufficient for beginners and intermediate-level users. Even the Ledger Nano S model has great features, and while it could pip the Trezor One model in terms of features, its relatively lower cost also sees it as a competitor for the advanced T model.
The biggest disadvantage of this wallet is the high pricing, so how do you choose? The solution is fairly simple – you’ve read this Trezor Model T review, and understood what it has to offer, now ask yourself, can you afford it? If no, ask yourself, is there a feature, or a lack thereof, stopping you? You should have your answer now.
If the answer is yes, there isn’t much to think about, is there? This wallet may be expensive, but it’s value for money, alright. Think of it as Apple – costly but on a whole different level with robust, best-in-class performance and a premium customer base that loves the ergonomic build and the premium offerings.
Laura has been interested in finance for a very long time, especially since her graduation in Economics. With the increasing popularity of cryptocurrency, she decides to read up more on the subject and soon became an expert. Laura has been dabbling with crypto ever since and started investing in them in 2017.