TREZOR Model T Review 2018
Table of Contents
- 1 First Impression
- 2 How to Set-Up
- 3 Handling of the TREZOR Model T
- 4 Compatibility
- 5 Documentation and Support
- 6 Security
The TREZOR Model T is the latest hardware wallet from SatoshiLabs.
Compared to its previous model TREZOR One, the TREZOR Model T now has a touchscreen and no physical buttons. There are even more differences, which I will show in the following test report.
Order a TREZOR Model T
It is generally recommended to order the hardware wallet TREZOR Model T directly from the manufacturer in his own online shop. As with TREZOR One, express delivery costs additional 17€, standard shipping is free of charge.
In addition, Cryptosteel is available as an accessory to keep your hardware wallet backup safe from the elements.
TREZOR also has a network of official resellers all over the world. There is also an own amazon shop and many private sellers. Some of the hardware wallets are available there at very different conditions, and an intermediary could manipulate devices for his purposes.
Hardware wallets should preferably be ordered directly from the manufacturer or official resellers.
Dubious shops or private sellers on platforms such as ebay or amazon could manipulate the devices for their purposes or trick the buyer. This way the thieves can steal all coins from your hardware wallet at a later time. Unfortunately, there have been such cases in the past.
Contents of the Package
The shipping envelope contains a box containing the hardware wallet. Depending on the selected accessories, a Cryptosteel or OTG cable is included in the shipment.
It is immediately apparent that the packaging of the TREZOR Model T has been completely redesigned compared to TREZOR One. The front side contains only the logo, while the back side contains more information such as the supported cryptocurrencies. The packaging is completely sealed in foil.
The outer white cover can be stripped off and the black inner packaging appears. Through a small window you can already see the TREZOR Model T – “The safe place for your coins”. The lid is closed by a magnet on the front side and can be opened without removing glue.
When you open the lid, you can see the quick start guide on the inside, the accessories on the right and the TREZOR Model T on the left. The hardware wallet is held in position with the help of magnets and can easily be removed with a little force. The magnet does not damage the hardware wallet or the accessories.
The Hardware Wallet
If you take the device into your hand, it already makes a valuable impression due to its weight of 15g. With a size of 64x39x10mm it is also slightly larger than its predecessor TREZOR One. This is of course due to the 240×240 pixel RGB LCD colour touchscreen on the front panel. Above the display is the TREZOR logo.
A female USB-C port with USB 2.0 is integrated on the underside, which is hidden under a hologram seal. The hologram should sit firmly over the USB-C port of the TREZOR. Once removed, it leaves traces on the device that are difficult or even impossible to remove.
On the right side there is an additional interface for a MicroSD card. This allows developers to install the bootloader manually. In the future, this interface will also be used for daily tasks with a new firmware. It is then imaginable to save the labeling on the SD card instead of uploading it encrypted to Dropbox (more later) or to sign files via SD card with a private key.
The USB-C cable and other accessories are located in the black box next to the device. Take the accessory box out of the box and open it. In addition to the 50cm long cable, here is also the guide “Getting Started” and two cards for recording the recovery seeds (backup). Of course, as with the predecessor, stickers are also included.
But that’s not all! The black piece of plastic underneath the TREZOR Model T has a second purpose: It is a kind of magnetic holder for the new hardware wallet. The double-sided adhesive tape on the reverse side can be glued to any firm base. Thanks to the magnetism, you can now dock the TREZOR Model T there and see the screen at any time.
First Impression: Conclusion
In my opinion, TREZOR has made good progress with the new packaging and has given it more thought. The brighter design is much more appealing and the content is also better organized. The use of magnets to close the lid immediately makes a valuable impression.
The TREZOR Model T hardware wallet is at first glance more robust than its predecessor. I particularly like the fact that it is connected to a USB-C port. The residues of the seal are bothersome and can be hardly removed from the hardware wallet. With regard to the additional security I can bear it. In addition, my test model did not have a spring in the MicroSD card slot, so that the SD card disappeared in the slot and could only be removed with the help of needles.
The included docking station is a nice accessory, because you can hang the TREZOR T in its field of vision.
How to Set-Up
Never use a hardware wallet that is already set up. You must choose your own PIN code and write down the backup yourself. This is not given by anyone!
The TREZOR Model T must first be connected to a computer as indicated on the packaging and in the Quick Start Guide. Afterwards, the Hardware Wallet’s display also shows a welcome message and the message to open the website trezor.io/start.
Now select the TREZOR Model T and continue with the setup.
Install the TREZOR Bridge
First of all, depending on the operating system, the corresponding TREZOR Bridge has to be downloaded. It is available for Windows, Mac OS and Linux.
This is the link between computer and hardware wallet. This is a piece of software that runs in the background. Once the software is installed, the page needs to be reloaded. Now you will be automatically forwarded to TREZOR Wallet.
Installing the Firmware
As soon as the TREZOR Wallet detects the device, it automatically offers to install the firmware for TREZOR Model T.
The TREZOR Model T is delivered without firmware. This ensures that the latest firmware is started immediately. In addition, the firmware is checked for authenticity at every startup. If something has been tampered with, you are immediately warned. Click on the button to start the installation.
No interaction with the hardware wallet is required. The installation runs independently.
Create a new Wallet or import old Ones
Now you can either create a new wallet or import an existing one. The latter can be done to import any BIP39 Recovery Seed. For example, it is possible to switch from TREZOR One to the new model or from a competitor product such as the Ledger Nano S. However, it is recommended to generate a new wallet, unless there is no doubt that the previous one was safe.
To learn how to import an old wallet, see the Security section of this review. In the following a new wallet is generated.
After a click on “Create new” the hardware wallet is ready for use within a few seconds. However, there are still some steps missing to complete the setup process and make the hardware wallet secure.
Further Steps of the Setup Process
Both the TREZOR Wallet as well as on the display of the Hardware Wallet now a message appears that a backup is required.
Creating a Backup
The most important and first point of the setup process is of course the backup. This is created to avoid losing all coins in case of loss or defect of the hardware wallet TREZOR Model T. Because this backup can be imported into other hardware or software wallets and you get access to all cryptocurrencies again.
Your recovery seed is the backup key to all your cryptocurrencies and applications. The recovery seed (backup) can only be displayed once. Never make a digital copy of the recovery seed and never upload it online. Keep the recovery seed in a safe place, ideally safe from fire and water, for example with Billfodl.
Nobody but yourself can be held liable for financial losses caused by improper handling of sensitive data.
To start the backup process, click “Create a backup in 3 minutes”. Afterwards, it is necessary to confirm that you have understood the importance of the recovery seed and that you have not photographed it or stored it digitally in any other way.
The TREZOR Model T now generates a unique recovery seed in the form of 12 words. The words are divided into three pages, so you have to swipe through the list. The words can be written on one of the included recovery seed cards.
A waterproof foil pencil must be used, as the cards are made of waterproof and tear-resistant plastic paper. Alternatively, the words can also be stamped into metal, or a special ready-made set of Cryptosteel can be used.
After confirming that the words have been completely written down, TREZOR randomly selects two words and prompts the owner to re-enter them on the screen for verification. The T9 keyboard layout is used, so that the words can be typed in quickly with just nine keys. After just a few letters, a word is suggested, which can be selected at the top of the screen and then confirmed. If one of the words is typed incorrectly, all words are displayed again. This ensures that the words are actually written down.
If both words have been correctly repeated, the backup is complete and the message in the form of the yellow bar on the hardware wallet disappears. Now follows the next step: Specify a name.
Choose a Name
Once the backup process is complete, it becomes a bit more creative. Now you can define a name for the hardware wallet. By adapting the device name, the device can be assigned to its owner without any doubt. In addition, several TREZOR devices can be distinguished from each other.
It is possible to choose your own name, which can be up to 16 characters long, or you can choose from predefined names. The action must then be confirmed via the Hardware Wallet. The new name now appears both on the display and in the web interface under the selected crypto currency.
Setting a PIN Code
A PIN is then defined to protect the hardware wallet from unauthorized use. This ensures that only the owner can make transactions. The maximum PIN length is nine digits.
The second time the PIN is entered, the dial on the Hardware Wallet display changes. This prevents the PIN from being read.
Staying up to Date
Finally, it is possible to register with his e-mail address to not miss any news, such as new updates or other important announcements. Subscribing is of course optional and TREZOR does not create a link between the wallet and e-mail address.
Once the last step has been completed, the installation of the TREZOR Model T is complete.
Conclusion of the Setup
Thanks to the new TREZOR Wallet the setup is now much easier than with TREZOR One. The firmware installation now runs completely independently and then the hardware wallet is basically ready for use.
Nevertheless, you will be pointed out conspicuously enough to perform further steps like a backup. The individual steps are well described, so that hardly any questions remain unanswered. Confirming the actions on the hardware wallet is better with the color touch screen, as more information can be displayed at once.
Handling of the TREZOR Model T
After the setup process, the hardware wallet TREZOR T is ready for its everyday tasks.
In principle, the TREZOR Model T is connected to a computer on which the TREZOR Bridge is located using the cable supplied. Other USB cables could cause problems, as well as certain USB ports.
In this state the hardware wallet is still locked. By tapping the display once and entering the PIN, the hardware wallet is unlocked. Then start the TREZOR Wallet and you can access your cryptocurrencies. It is also possible to access the data read-only if the hardware wallet is not connected – more about this later.
Bitcoin is already selected by default, so you can get started right away.
Receive Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin
To receive coins with the TREZOR Model T, switch to the corresponding crypto currency and then to the “Receive” tab. For security reasons, the entire address is not displayed here. To do this, it must first be verified on the display of the TREZOR Model T in order to prevent manipulation.
A click on the button “Show full address” starts the check. Only when you have compared both addresses and they match you should confirm the action with the green tick on the display of the Hardware Wallet. This process must be repeated every time you want to display a complete address. Then the address is also fully displayed in the TREZOR Wallet.
If necessary, you can verify an address again by clicking on the eye at the end of the address line. The addresses can also be labeled when the dropbox connection is active.
Bitcoin can now be sent to this address. It was generated securely on the Hardware Wallet and the corresponding private key to this address is not known to anyone. It is now conceivable to send your Bitcoin from an online stock exchange to this address, or to pass it on in another way.
As soon as a payment has been received at this address, the address is sorted out so that it is not used again. Because then it would be possible to trace several transactions back to one address. However, it can still be called up by displaying the previous addresses.
In the”Transactions” tab, a kind of account summary is generated for each cryptocurrency account, listing all past transactions. It also includes a summary of all outgoing and incoming transactions, the current account balance and exchange rate, and a graphical analysis. It is also possible to browse its transaction history and export it via a CSV file.
If dropbox labeling is activated, you can also describe your transactions and search for these keywords.
To send cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, switch to the “Send” tab. A form appears here in which the required data must be entered.
In the address field belongs the address to which you want to send coins. These can be retrieved from exchanges and traders who accept Bitcoin. Either you copy it in, or you scan a QR code via webcam. The comment field appears when the dropbox connection is active and allows you to add a label for this transaction. This appears in the transaction view. The amount can be specified either in a fiat currency or directly in the corresponding cryptocurrency. With the arrow it is possible to send all coins at once. The fee is finally chosen. This does not go to TREZOR, but “pays” the miners who make the transactions on the respective block chain possible. If you change the fee and choose to send all coins, the amount is automatically adjusted according to the fee. This leaves the wallet truly empty.
If you have filled out the form completely, the Send button shows the total amount. At the end of the form, you can display the transaction details via a link. Using the drop-down box on the right, you can add more recipients or schedule a time delay.
Of course, this action must also be confirmed by the Hardware Wallet after clicking on “Send”. Here the amount including fee and address are displayed again. These must match the values entered, only then should you agree to the transaction.
Some of the settings are explained below.
To access the settings of the TREZOR Model T hardware wallet, click on the name of it. Here you can change the name and PIN but also generate a public key for each account. This allows you to view all transactions on this account and is good for importing into an app for your smartphone, for example.
Under the “Homescreen” tab you can change the background image, which then appears inside the circle instead of the lock. Either upload your own picture here, or choose one from the gallery. Here, as well, the action must be confirmed via the hardware wallet.
Under the advanced settings you can define a passphrase, which can increase the security even more. You can also deactivate the PIN or reset the device completely. A change of the home screen, i.e. the image on the TREZOR Model T Display, is currently not possible.
In the app settings you can select a fiat currency into which the values of the coins will be converted. In addition, depending on the cryptocurrency, a different Bitcore Server URL can be specified from where the current information of the blockchain is loaded. Here it is recommended to keep the TREZOR servers.
Dropbox labeling allows you to add a label to addresses, accounts or even transactions. You can search them and find your way around better. To do this, click on “Enable Labeling” in the menu on the left under the app settings.
The data is now stored encrypted in the Dropbox. Even if someone had access to the Dropbox account, they could not evaluate the labels. The Dropbox storage is used because the TREZOR Model T itself does not have enough storage.
The labeling must be confirmed each time it is connected.
With the new model it is possible to rotate the screen in any direction. You only have to swipe with one finger in the corresponding direction.
Conclusion of the Handling
The handling with the TREZOR Model T hardware wallet is very pleasant due to the color touchscreen. The font is large and sharp enough to read everything well under normal viewing angles. The colorful loading and waiting animations are fitting and beautiful to look at. The touch screen is also precise so that even the relatively small keys are always hit when entering the PIN. If you want to read the display from imperfect angles, the LCD display quickly reaches its limits and you no longer recognize certain colors.
The operation of the TREZOR Model T hardware wallet is easy thanks to the well thought-out web wallet. The uniform interface for every cryptocurrency except for a few exceptions makes it especially easy for beginners. The possibility of labeling is also particularly noteworthy. Only a few wallets offer this possibility, but it is very practical to be able to still assign the transactions and addresses in the future.
TREZOR Model T can be used on the following platforms:
Mobile use via Android is also possible again with the TREZOR Model T. Thanks to the new connection, a modern smartphone with USB-C connection no longer even requires an adapter. The own TREZOR Manger App for configuring the TREZOR One did not work with the new model at the time of testing. Other apps such as WALLETH, an Android app for Ethereum, already works with the TREZOR Model T.
The following cryptocurrencies are currently supported:
- Bitcoin Cash
- Ethereum Classic
- ERC-20 Tokens
- Bitcoin Gold
Not all cryptocurrencies are supported directly by TREZOR Wallet by SatoshiLabs, but partly only by third party software. If you want to use the TREZOR Wallet to manage Ethereum for example, you only get a message that you should use another service, in this case the MyEtherWallet. Other compatible currencies are not even listed. In this case, a look into the TREZOR documentation helps.
To switch between the coins, simply click on the currently active currency in the upper left corner and then select it from the list.
Next to the cryptocurrencies there are also TREZOR Apps for other purposes. These are services or software that have a TREZOR integration built in. This allows you to interact directly with the hardware wallet on the Bitstamp Online Exchange via the website or use other software wallets such as Electrum or Copay. The following software and services are currently supported:
- SSH Agent
- Passwort Manager
Under the hood is a micropython subsystem with the new model, which means that the device is much more programmable – so there are significant changes to the ecosystem that are possible for third parties. As a result, many more services and applications can support TREZOR in the future.
Documentation and Support
An enclosed manual does not exist, only a short quick start guide is available. This makes you fully dependent on the TREZOR documentation, which includes the following areas:
- a list of frequently asked questions
- instruction manual
- instructions for the TREZOR apps
- and a guide for developers
All articles in this documentation are currently available in English. The setup and operation of the Hardware Wallet will also be largely in English later on.
The TREZOR support team usually answers all support requests within 24 hours on working days, but this period cannot be guaranteed at peak times. Even on weekends and holidays, capacity is scheduled for priority cases.
The PIN protects the hardware wallet from unauthorized use in the event of loss or theft. Thanks to the relatively large touchscreen, the entry can now be made completely via the hardware wallet, so that no malware on the computer can read it. In addition, the PIN entry field changes every time, so that it is also not possible to read the tracks on the display. All numbers from 0 to 9 are also possible. If you enter an incorrect PIN, the entry is increasingly delayed, so it would take several years to try several combinations.
The PIN must be entered every time you connect the hardware wallet. Nevertheless, you can read your account on trustworthy devices even without a connected hardware wallet. To do this, select the “Remember device” option when disconnecting the hardware wallet. This means that the wallet remains open and the hardware wallet only has to be reconnected for critical actions such as sending coins.
It is also possible to activate passphrase encryption with the Model T of TREZOR. Encryption using passphrases allows access to new wallets. Each wallet is hidden behind a specific passphrase. The old accounts remain accessible behind an empty passphrase. This means that there is no right or wrong passphrase, each combination opens a new wallet.
The passphrase encryption can be activated in the advanced device settings. The action must then be confirmed on the hardware wallet. If the device is disconnected and reconnected, passphrase encryption is enabled.
You are then faced with the choice of either entering the passphrase via the keyboard on the computer or using the touchscreen of the hardware wallet. Here you can switch between numbers, special characters, upper and lower case letters by swiping. This can be very tedious with long passphrases, but increases security immensely. This is because the secret code may not be read by strangers on the computer by malware such as keyloggers.
Restore Recovery Seed
The TREZOR Model T uses a 12 word seed, while TREZOR One uses 24 words. According to TREZOR, the new model no longer requires a long seed, as all sensitive operations, including the recovery seed recovery into the TREZOR Model T, are performed via the touchscreen of the device. Therefore only 12 words are generated with the new hardware wallet.
For the recovery you can of course import all BIP39 recovery seeds, including those with more than 12 words. For the recovery process, go back to trezor.io/start and select “Recover Wallet” on the right side.
Now read the further notes and start the process. First, the number of words must be selected via the hardware wallet. Then you can type in the words directly via the touch display. After the 12th word the wallet opens immediately and you can continue with the setup process.
Just like its predecessor, the TREZOR Model T is completely open source. This means that both the wallet software and the firmware of the hardware wallet itself can be viewed: Github TREZOR.
The hardware wallet generates its seed isolated on the device and makes it available as a backup in the form of 12 words. This principle makes the TREZOR Model T so safe, because nobody can read the seed. Only the backup could fall into the wrong hands.
All security-relevant actions are performed thanks to the larger touch screen on the hardware wallet: PIN entry, entry and display of the recovery seed and passphrase. There is no exchange with the computer for these security-critical actions, because USB communication is only activated after the processes have been completed.
The new TREZOR Model T also uses a micropython subsystem, which makes the whole system much easier to extend for developers, but can also increase the attack area. So far, however, no security gaps are known.
The new wallet also prevents man-in-the-middle attacks by verifying generated addresses each time via the hardware wallet. Additional security features such as passphrase encryption can provide additional security for experienced users.
User Reviews 1
|Platform||Windows, Linux, Mac, Android|
|Compatibility||Mycelium, Copay, Electrum, MyEtherWallet, FIDO/U2F, ArcBit, bitpay, Bitstamp, bitwala, cashila, Coinmap, coinpayments, Encompass, MultiBit, SSH Agent, wordpress, efolio, Osclass, Strip4bit, Passwort Manager|
|Supported Coins||14 Coins|
|FIDO U2F Authenticator|
|Cryptocurrencies||Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Zcash, Dash, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic, ERC-20 Tokens, Namecoin, Ubiq, Expanse, NEM, Bitcoin Gold|