Review: Trezor Model T

Review

It has been a while since we last reviewed a hardware wallet, but this industry is not standing still either. Recently, Trezor announced the latest version of their hardware wallet, the Model T. In this article, we take a look at the improvements over the previous generation. The first review of a hardware wallet on bitcoin.nl was about the original Trezor, which was one of the first hardware wallets that came on the market in 2014. With the Model T, Trezor takes a big step in improving the user-friendliness and modernizing hardware wallets.

features

The Trezor Model T was available for pre-order for a short time and is currently sold out. Trezor is expected to release a new batch soon. During the pre-order phase, the price of the Model T was between 119 and 139. What price the Model T will be for sale when it is available again is not yet known, but it will probably not differ much from the price during the pre-order phase. This makes the Model T slightly more expensive compared to the original Trezor or, for example, the Ledger Nano S.

However, the Model T is also a lot more advanced, because it has a color touchscreen. The Model T therefore actually has a very good price-quality ratio and the choice for the Model T instead of the old variant is therefore tempting. In addition, the Model T has an SD card slot for encrypting data, the Model T offers wide support for various cryptocurrencies and the software on which the device runs has been completely rewritten. In this review we look at the basic functionality of the Model T: initializing the device and receiving and sending transactions.

Reception

Upon receipt, it immediately becomes clear that the Model T is a more luxurious product than its predecessor. Just a little more care has gone into the design and feel of the presentation; the lid of the package closes with a magnetic strip and the overall presentation of the product is good. Of course, in a device that revolves around the security of our digital currencies, packaging is an afterthought and these are just details, but the improvements are representative of the progress of this industry.

A nice extra can be found under the first layer of the packaging: a magnetic dock that you can stick in a place of your preference. The Model T always stays in place when you put it away. The further content is as we are used to from hardware wallets: a cable and a few booklets to write down your recovery seed. Interesting to mention is that Trezor has chosen to use the USB-C standard and has therefore also included a USB-C to USB cable.

The USB-C port on Model T is covered with a hologram sticker, which allows us to verify that the device has not been tampered with during shipment. The sticker cannot be removed without tearing it apart, leaving sticker particles and glue residue on the device. Although this is of course the intention of the sticker, it is still a hassle to get these leftovers off the device. The hologram sticker would therefore have been better placed on one of the external packaging.

In practice – Initialization

When we connect the device we are instructed to go to trezor.io/start, where we are greeted with the also completely renewed interface of trezor.io and the Trezor Wallet. This new interface is also a step forward, as we will see in the process. We are given the option to choose which device we have, of course we choose the Model T.

We are then instructed to install the latest firmware on the Model T. This way we are immediately up-to-date and know that we are running the correct, authentic version of the firmware. The installation of the firmware is a breeze, so far the experience is very smooth.

Create wallet

We then get the option to create a new wallet or restore an existing wallet. This is nice, because there are probably a lot of people who are switching from an older hardware wallet and can easily do it this way by entering a recovery seed. For this review we will create a new wallet.

Back up

After creating the new wallet, the message appears that we have not yet made a backup of our recovery seed. It is striking that we can already use the wallet; with the original Trezor, the backup took place during the initialization of the wallet. Of course we immediately make a backup of our wallet, so that we do not run the risk of losing our coveted bitcoins.

We are instructed never to take a picture of our recovery seed and never to put it on the internet. We secretly do that for this review. Do listen to Trezor yourself and never(!) reveal your recovery seed .

Here we really come into contact with the touchscreen of the Model T for the first time. All input we give is now done directly on the screen of the device itself, where with the old model this often went partly through the computer. This provides extra security, because we can be sure that we have control over what we enter and never have to reveal information by entering something on a computer. The first four words of the 12-word seed are shown so that we can write them down on the appropriate notes or other backup medium. Then we can scroll down to show the following words.

After we have completely written down the recovery seed, we are asked to enter a number of words from the seed on the Model T to check that we have indeed written down the seed neatly and correctly. This is also done entirely by touching the letters on the screen. This is a big improvement, because previously this process was a lot more time consuming due to the limitations of the two buttons available on the old Trezor. This is also a lot safer; previously the easiest option was to type the seed into the Trezor Wallet on your computer, but this is obviously not a secure method.

We fill in a name for our Model T and enter a secure PIN code that we can use to unlock our device. Then we are all set!

This completes the initialization of the Model T. Compliments are in order for Trezor. The user experience is very smooth. The combination of the ease of operating a touchscreen and the well-designed updated interface make the process completely flawless. Creating the wallet therefore certainly does not feel like a task that still requires some technical knowledge, as was the case in the past. A child can do the laundry.

Receive and send transactions

We can now start using the Model T and start receiving and sending bitcoins. We do this from the clear wallet interface. The interface is designed in such a way that it is easy to switch between the different cryptocurrencies that you want to manage from your Trezor. We haven’t received any transactions yet, so we have to do something about that. We are going to send a small number of bitcoins to the wallet on our Model T.

For this we will have to show an address from our wallet. However, this does not happen immediately, because we first have to check on the device itself that the address shown on the computer is the same as that shown on the device. This prevents us from falling victim to malware that tries to swap addresses. Safety first. The address can also be displayed as a QR code so that we can scan the address directly from the Model T.

As soon as we have received the transaction, we will see the history of our transactions and the current balance in the overview. The value of your bitcoins can of course also be shown in euros and other regular currencies.

Next, we want to start sending bitcoins. For convenience, we do this to an address from the same wallet on the Model T. We paste the address, fill in the entire balance of the Model T as the amount of bitcoins to be sent and set the fee to a low 1 satoshi per byte. After all, the transaction has no priority and a higher fee is not necessary at the moment. Note: only set the fee for a transaction yourself if you are sure that it will go well, otherwise choose one of the standard options.

The transaction must be confirmed twice on the device itself. This time we have to hold down the digital button on the touchscreen to confirm sending. This feels good, because it also prevents mistakes. After confirmation, the transaction will be sent.

Conclusion

The Trezor Model T is a big step up from the previous generation of hardware wallets. Trezor is once again putting itself on the map as the company in the field of hardware wallets. The addition of a touchscreen not only improves the ease of use and form factor of the device, but also the security of using the hardware wallet. The extensive knowledge of the makers of the device is reflected in this, as well as Trezor’s philosophy regarding the development of the hardware wallet. The Model T, in combination with the updated wallet interface, is an improvement in all areas compared to its predecessor.

What is striking is that the use of the Model T as a hardware wallet is starting to resemble the use of an everyday device such as a USB stick. This will make it accessible to many people without a technical background to manage and send bitcoins. This too deserves praise. Hardware wallets have greatly aided bitcoin adoption; without these devices it would be a lot more difficult for many people to manage bitcoins securely. The fact that Trezor takes another big step in the user-friendliness of bitcoin is a victory for the ecosystem and the progress of the technology.

Advantages

  • Touch screen
  • The redesigned interface is very user-friendly
  • All software used is open source
  • Ready for the future

Cons

  • Hologram sticker leaves adhesive residue on the device
  • More expensive than its predecessor

You can easily purchase the Trezor Model T via the Trezor website.

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