The TREZOR Model-T is a second generation Bitcoin/Altcoin hardware wallet manufactured by SatoshiLabs. The TREZOR line debuted in 2014 with the TREZOR One (T-One) and has remained one of the most popular cryptocurrency cold storage solutions to date.
The footprint of the Model-T is similar to the T-One, with the biggest differentiator being the color touchscreen and lack of physical buttons. The Model-T’s firmware (dubbed TREZOR Core) was written from scratch to further optimize security. As with the T-One, this hardware wallet is designed to be used safely even on malware infected devices (although this is not recommended).
At the time of this review the Model-T costs 139 EUR or about $165. This price tag is steeper than the popular Ledger Nano S, however the Model-T is more feature rich. The inclusion of a color touchscreen makes the Model-T competitively priced.
Make sure you NEVER buy a TREZOR or any other hardware wallet from eBay.Only buy from the TREZOR store.
TREZOR has a reputation for providing industry leading security for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, protecting against both physical as well as virtual theft.
TREZOR is a hierarchical deterministic (HD) wallet where you control the private keys, so an entire wallet can be backed up with the 12-word recovery seed. The original 12-word seed is generated using random generation from the device and the computer. The seed is generated offline and displayed on the TREZOR’s screen, which ensures that the seed is never on an internet-connected device.
You can recover the entire wallet with the 12-word seed in the event that your TREZOR is lost or damaged. Recovery can be done with another TREZOR or with other software wallets like Electrum or Mycelium.
The Model-T ships with a tamper proof seal over the USB-C port that leaves holographic residue on the device when peeled away.We attempted to remove the seal as carefully as possible but were unable to do so without it being evident. While the seal shows to be good tamper-proofing it is worth repeating that you should only ever purchase hardware wallets directly from the manufacturer.
A PIN code is required on initial setup as well as for spending. The PIN number layout on the device shuffles at each prompt for added security.
TREZOR’s screen allows you to confirm that you’re sending to the intended recipient, but this does not prevent against phishing attacks (whereby you are provided an incorrect address on your computer screen).
A full overview of how TREZOR handles security threats can be found on the SatoshiLabs website. The firmware for the Model-T has been completely re-written from scratch for enhanced security over the T-One. The code is open source and can be reviewed on GitHub.
The Model-T is compatible with all major operating systems and works with up to date versions of both Chrome and Firefox. Per the 4-step instructions on your device packaging:
Once the device firmware has been updated the Model-T will reboot and ask you if you are setting up a new device or if you want to recover a pre-existing wallet. While the Model-T accepts all BIP39 seeds and can restore an older wallet, the manufacturer strongly recommends creating a new seed for added security. If you choose to generate a new wallet, the device will process your request and you will be brought into the revamped user interface.
Now it is time to backup your wallet and create your recovery seed. Click the “Create a backup in 3 minutes” prompt in the web GUI and write down the randomly generated 12-word recovery seed with permanent ink on the included recovery seed papers (water and tear resistant). The device will ask you to re-input two of the words for confirmation before proceeding. Do not power down the device during this process or you will need to start over.
Store the recovery seed in a safe place and do not share it with anyone. It is also advised to never save your recovery seed in digital format or to take pictures of it.
Remember, your device is only as secure as your recovery seed. If this falls into the wrong hands they can import your wallet and sweep your funds.
Now that you have completed the recovery seed process, you are free to name your device and configure the 4 to 9 digit access PIN. You will be prompted to enter the PIN twice before completion. This PIN is your security mechanism should the physical device be stolen, so be sure to set it to something unique and ideally with more than the minimum 4 digits.
You backup your TREZOR T by writing down 24 words. These 24 words can then recreate your TREZOR wallet in the event your TREZOR is lost, stolen or damaged.
The TREZOR comes with paper to write down the words:
For the extra paranoid user, you may want to store your seed in a fireproof safe. Or, get something like the Billfodl.
The Billfodl is stainless steel backup solution. It allows you to store your 24 word backup seed on material that is much more resistant to fire, electricity, water and other potential dangers to your backup seed.
For example, one user had $1 million worth of cryptocurrency backed up on a seed. His house was flooded, and the water destroyed his paper backup seed. This would not have happened had the user been storing his backup seed on stainless steel like the Billfodl.
The Billfodl protects your seed from both fire and potential floods. For $80, this can be worth it depending on the amount of cryptocurrency you’re storing on your device.
In addition to Bitcoin, the Model-T supports Bcash, Bitcoin Gold, Dash, Litecoin, Zcash, NEM, Ethereum and Ethereum Classic. The device also includes functionality for GPG encryption or to serve as a means of U2F authentication.
TREZOR and the Ledger Nano S are often compared.
The main differences are that the TREZOR Model-T has more compute functionality, as well as a color touchscreen, while the Ledger Nano S uses a secure chip and small LED screen with physical button functionality.
In summation, the Model-T is another solid product from SatoshiLabs and the most feature rich hardware wallet to date. If you are looking for a secure and user friendly option to store your cryptocurrency, the Model-T is a great choice.