A Review of the Trezor Model T Hardware Wallet
The Trezor Model T hardware wallet is the Rolls Royce of the Trezor wallet lineup. As part of our ongoing series of hardware wallet reviews, let’s take a look under the hood and see what it has to offer.
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The Trezor Model T Hardware Wallet–The Serious Crypto Hodler’s Wallet
At the end of May, SatoshiLabs unveiled the release of its next-generation wallet, the Trezor Model T. Its market position was clear. While the Trezor One would remain the original workhorse wallet of the company’s lineup, the new Model T would offer more bells and whistles and come with some serious design changes.
The most obvious of these is its buttonless function. Everything is done on the color touchscreen display. It is also powered by the company’s new operating system, Trezor Core, enabling faster feature development and easier coin support.
Trezor wallets support a mind-boggling 689 coins, and counting. (Of course, most of these are ERC20 tokens.)
The Model T is a slightly larger wallet than the One, with a screen that is more than double the size. It also comes packed with a magnetic dock to hold the device, a neat add-on.
Where Trezor has improved from its One model is the length of the cable, making it much easier to view both the device and the interface simultaneously, and making it generally easier to wrangle.
However, for those new to the USB-C type connector, it can feel like the device isn’t connecting well to your computer. You need to make sure you snap it in. Until snapped in, the connection will feel loose and you will get messages like this:
I liked the backup recovery phrase process, with a finer font than the Trezor One, though testing only two words was somewhat disconcerting. The test words are autofilled, making the process fast. The change of onscreen keyboard layout presents itself first when you set your PIN.
SatoshiLabs… A Sticky Kind of Security
SatoshiLabs is known for its commitment to security. According to the company, the casing of the Trezor T is “ultrasonically welded, making it difficult to be restored after breakage.” A quick glance at the device suggests that breaking it open to compromise it and reweld it without it being obvious would be highly improbable.
But, there is a price to pay for security. The Model T is not hologram sealed on the box, but on the device. When peeling off the hologram seal from over the device’s USB port, it leaves an unsightly mess of seal glue and “seal peel” which does detract from the box-opening experience. Of course, security is the reason for it all, but one can’t help but wonder if there wasn’t another way to do it.
Its open source software is battle-tested, and the company is transparent about vulnerabilities that have been discovered and resolved. The Trezor also comes with U2F authentication and a built-in password manager, operated through a Chrome extension.
The keypad on the touchscreen is randomized, so passwords cannot be given away by the trails of dirty fingermarks. Also, the device does not communicate with your computer until the correct password has been entered–one further layer of security.
The Model T has a micro SD card slot, which is not useable at the moment. The idea, in future, is to add the ability to make an encrypted backup of the device. So don’t let the slot confuse you.
Ease of Use
Before using the wallet, users will need to install the new TREZOR Bridge on their PC. This interface interacts with the T once the correct PIN has been entered, running in the background between your device and your computer. Trezor’s new wallet design makes the Model T extremely intuitive to use, so once set up, it should present no problems even for beginners.
Security features are obvious through any operation. Full addresses, for example, are not displayed by default. After requesting a verification, the full address is displayed on the PC interface and the device, with a prompt requesting confirmation that they match.
This is where the larger screen of the Model T becomes most advantageous. Also, during the setup phase, the screen uses a T9 setup so that seed words can be spelled out easily during the confirmation stage. SatoshiLabs’ ease-of-use-meets-security approach with the Model T makes it perfectly suitable for the beginners the company is targeting with its entry-level hardware wallet One through aggressive pricing.
Personally, I’d recommend the Model T over the One despite the price differential, largely because of its all touchscreen operation.
Overall Impression of the Trezor Model T Hardware Wallet
With SatoshiLabs’ reputation for security and the enhanced features of the Model T, in addition to its design elegance, this is a hardware wallet that should allow even the most paranoid crypto holder to sleep easily at night. Its extensive list of supported coins is also further proof that SatoshiLabs is keeping apace with the fast-changing trends of the cryptocurrency ecosystem. You can order a Model T here.
Have your say. Is the Trezor Model T hardware wallet the premiere crypto wallet on the market?
Images via SatoshiLabs, Paul de Havilland