I took a short video of myself doing an unboxing of the device, if you want to see what it looks like (and hear my rambling):
But aside from the look and basic feel of the device, what is there to cover?
First and foremost, security. I’m far from the techiest guy in the Bitcoin industry, so my opinion on this is simplistic. I haven’t dug into the code or tried to script any sort of exploit–but is it secure from low-tech theft? Yes, absolutely. In order to send funds from the wallets connected to the device, you need both the device and its 4-digit PIN. There’s no real way around this, so long as your PIN remains secure and you’re relatively cautious about losing the physical object.
Usability is also pretty high on most people’s list, and the device scores phenomenally well on that count. First-time setup was straightforward and easy–I spent less than 10 minutes from opening the device to sending and receiving my first bitcoins using it. The most time-consuming part was writing down a 24-word brain wallet, used to restore your specific device configurations in case of damage or loss of the device. The Ledger Nano S spends a decent amount of time making sure you get it right. The button layout is simplistic and usable: left button to go left (or select the left-hand option), right button to go right (or select the right-hand option), both buttons to confirm or continue with the current selection. My only real gripe is that my hands aren’t perfectly well coordinated, so I accidentally hit the wrong button one time (left instead of both). That was barely an issue though.
The device is very small, easy to hang onto on a keychain, or around a lanyard. The only issue is that it’s not particularly secure within its small swivel-housing. My only real suggested design improvement would be a light, easy locking mechanism to hold it in place, that needs to be pressed in order to swing it out. Otherwise, I’d be worried about it swinging out and getting damaged. Overall though, excellent, compact design is a big win for the Ledger Nano S.
Last of all: pricing. The Ledger Nano S is available directly from the manufacturer either on LedgerWallet.com or, for US-based customers, on Amazon.com, sold by Ledger still. It’s 58€, or the current Amazon pricing.
In total, the Ledger Nano S is my favorite hardware wallet I’ve had a chance to put my hands on so far. It has a big advantage in size–it’s extremely small. In price, it’s the winner against competing brands like Trezor and KeepKey (although, amusingly, is the most expensive option available from Ledger.)
The Final Word of the Ledger Nano S Review:
I’m very happy to give the Ledger Nano S from LedgerWallet.com an A+. It’s easy, secure, small, and affordable. If you need a Bitcoin hardware wallet solution, it’s my number one recommendation.