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8.0 / 10
The Trezor Model T is the latest premium hardware wallet model released in 2018 by SatoshiLabs, the famous team behind the Trezor wallet series.
The Model T is packaged beautifully, complete with all the essential accessories for use, along with comprehensive instruction guides. The Model T also comes with a magnetic docking port which you can stick on a hard surface, although we must admit that we couldn’t figure out how that could ever become useful.
When unboxing the Model T, you’ll notice that the device has a hologram seal which covers the USB port of the device. If the packaging is damaged or the seal has been opened, return it to Trezor and don’t use the device – as it could mean that someone has installed malicious software on the device potentially leading to a loss of funds.
The shape and form of the Trezor Model T stands out from other hardware wallets as it has eschewed the common USB-shape for something that looks more like a remote car key. Although the plastic case looks a bit cheap, the case is robust and well built. A large color LCD touch screen, designed for easy readability, covers the front part of the device. This comes in handy as one often has to read from the device’s screen when confirming transactions.
Unlike its predecessor the Trezor One, the Trezor Model T comes with USB-C support, which means that you can connect it to a mobile device.
Setting-up the Trezor is quite straightforward. You first head to trezor.io/start, where you have to choose the model of the device you want to set-up and then connect the device to your computer using the USB-C cable delivered with the box. As this didn’t work out-of-the-box for us, we had to download an additional piece of software that Trezor calls “Bridge Software” which helps to facilitate the communication between the Trezor device and your internet browser. This took no more than thirty seconds after which the device connected successfully, but we were left wondering why Trezor didn’t make it mandatory (or feature it more prominently as an option) in the first place.
Once the device is connected, and you have chosen the option to create a new wallet (the other option is to recover an existing one), you’ll be instructed to install the device’s firmware, which you do by tapping on the device’s “confirm” button.
There are two reasons why the Trezor comes without firmware pre-installed.
After installing the firmware, you’re good to go and use your Trezor to store and send cryptocurrency. However, you might notice that at this point you haven’t backed up your seed phrase yet, which you absolutely need in case you lose your Trezor device and want to restore your wallet on another device.
Unlike other providers, Trezor chose to spare users the lengthy process of writing down the seed phrase in order to let them use the wallet immediately. Instead, you’ll see a notification that reminds you to back it up as long as you haven’t done it. Nevertheless, we strongly advise you to do it immediately.
The process of setting it up the Trezor Model T is quite smooth. You’ll see twelve words appear on the screen of the Trezor hardware wallet, which you have to write down. Trezor provides a piece of paper for that purpose but you could theoretically also order a steelwallet, a special fire-resistant metal sheet that allows you to engrave the words with the aid of a puncher.
Since all twelve words don’t fit on the screen at once you’ll have to swipe down a couple of times but the touch screen is very responsive, which makes the process hassle-free. To check that you have written the words down correctly, Trezor will ask you to re-enter three of them. Again, this is nicely implemented in form of a multiple-choice quiz and takes not more than thirty seconds to complete. To finish, you can set a device pin for extra security and give your hardware wallet a name.
Now to send some coins to the wallet. By default, the Trezor dashboard selects the Bitcoin wallet and provides you with the option to either transfer bitcoin from an external wallet or buy bitcoin via credit card. We choose to transfer bitcoin from another wallet and click the option “receive”. Before it reveals your wallet address for you to copy-paste it however, Trezor asks you to read the address displayed on the dashboard and confirm that it matches the address on the device’s screen. That’s done to prevent a malicious program from reading the content of your desktop screen and replacing its content to a different receive address, effectively making you send the funds to them. Sending bitcoin is also straightforward. We like the fact that the bitcoin amount can be displayed in a range of currencies, the total wallet balance can be sent in one click on the arrow (it can be really painful to input several digits manually) and that the user can choose between different suggested fees to include with the transaction. After initiating the transaction by hitting the “send” button, you’ll be prompted to confirm one more time on the Trezor device by holding your finger on the device screen.
One big user experience hiccup with the Trezor is that many coins can only be viewed in third-party wallet interfaces. For example, when you want to view your Ethereum balance or send tokens, Trezor redirects you to “MyEtherWallet” or “MyCrypto” to do so. To be sure, when using these interfaces you still benefit from the security of the Trezor device but forcing the user to switch platforms is odd to say the least. Moreover, it means that you can’t view all your balances together, you have to click on each account separately.
In terms of security, though, the Model T really stands out. Trezor’s long-standing commitment to open-source and auditable code ensures that tech-savvy users and security experts can scrutinize the software and hardware developed by Trezor. Although security experts have found vulnerabilities in all hardware wallets, Trezor’s openness and willingness to solve these security issues and even pay users for disclosing them, really differentiates from its competitors.
The Model T’s full color touchscreen makes processes like sending, receiving and PIN input secure while keeping most crucial operations offline, where they are invulnerable to remote attacks.
As the oldest player in the game, the Trezor Model T benefits from a lot of third-party integrations. Any exchange or wallet offering hardware wallet support will start by integrating Trezor. Moreover, it’s the only wallet that is optimized for Multi-Signature, a technique which allows you to share responsibility and possession of bitcoins with other bitcoin addresses or users.
We are a multi-faceted team of crypto enthusiasts based in Berlin.
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