Ledger Blue Review (2018)

The Ledger Blue is a multi-currency hardware wallet launched in December 2016.

It boasts a 3.5-inch full-colour touchscreen and is marketed as “the most advanced hardware security gear on the market”.

However, at over twice the cost of the Ledger Nano S, is it worth it?

In this review of the Ledger Blue, we’ll cover:

Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages

Disadvantages

  • Expensive hardware wallet (approx. £245).
  • Larger than alternatives (97mm x 68mm x 10mm).
    • Approx. the size of my palm.
  • Bluetooth enabled, but no apps appear to use it.

What is a Ledger Blue?

The Ledger Blue is a premium cryptocurrency hardware wallet which allows you to easily and securely store your cryptocurrency. It’s the latest hardware wallet in Ledger’s product line which was released in late 2016.

Since its release, it’s sold 10,213 units. In stark contrast, the Ledger Nano S has sold over 1.3 million units.

“Ledger Blue is the most advanced hardware security gear on the market. It boasts multi-application execution and packs enterprise-level crypto-capabilities into a lightweight handheld device designed and crafted in France. It is architected around a Secure Element, featuring a touchscreen and USB connectivity” (Source)

The Ledger Blue works by generating and isolating private keys (for the coins supported) on the device. Private keys are extremely sensitive information. If your private keys were leaked, your funds wouldn’t be safe. Hardware wallets like this prevent that from happening.

When you want to send cryptocurrency, hardware wallets like the Ledger Blue will require that you physically confirm all the details of the transaction on the Ledger Blue’s screen. Malware couldn’t steal your cryptocurrency unless you accidentally authenticated it on the Ledger Blue.

Hardware wallets are well-recommended by the crypto-community as they’re convenient and simple to set up and use. Although it’s possible to secure your cryptocurrency without a hardware wallet, it can be overwhelming if you’re a beginner or aren’t computer literate.

Supported Coins

Search all the coins supported by the Ledger Blue here.

The Ledger Blue currently supports 24 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC). Through MyEtherWallet / MyCrypto, the Ledger Blue also supports every ERC-20 token.

As evidenced here, the Ledger Blue doesn’t support as many cryptocurrencies as the Ledger Nano S. While support for popular projects (e.g., Monero, Cardano, VeChain) on the Ledger Nano S is approaching (check their roadmap), the Ledger Blue isn’t feeling the love.

What’s in the Box?

Here’s what’s in the box:

  • Ledger Blue
  • Protective Bag (for the Ledger Blue)
  • 1m microUSB to USB Cable
  • Instructions
  • 3x Recovery Sheet

You’ll also find this in the box, which explains why there’s no anti-tamper seal on the box or device.

I’m happy they included a protective bag with the device. This protects the device when you’re not using it, but also makes it a little less conspicuous.


Getting Started

It doesn’t take long to setup the Ledger Blue.

Just head over to ledgerwallet.com/live and download Ledger Live (all-in-one desktop app).

Once that’s installed, launch Ledger Live and follow the on-screen instructions. It’ll walk you through the whole setup process. There’s a video setup guide here.

During setup, you’ll be asked to setup a PIN. Some PRO tips:

  • You can set a PIN which is up to 8 digits long.
  • Don’t use a sequence.
  • Don’t repeat numbers.
  • Make it unique/different from other PIN codes you use.

It’s also really important that you keep your recovery seed private and secure:

  • If someone else copies or steals it, your cryptocurrency funds are at risk.
  • If you lose your device, you can’t recover your cryptocurrency funds without the recovery seed.

As long as your PIN and recovery seed are secured, the loss or theft of the device itself doesn’t matter. If someone incorrectly guesses the PIN 3 times, the device will be wiped.

Design

The Ledger Blue is the largest (97mm x 68mm x 10mm) and heaviest (90g) hardware wallet I’ve tested. It doesn’t look or feel cheap.

It’s about the size of my palm (or an old iPod touch). Although it’s not as compact as alternatives, it still fits in my pockets.

Hardware WalletSizeWeight
Ledger Blue97mm x 68mm x 10mm90g
Ledger Nano S98mm x 18mm x 9mm 16g
Trezor One60mm x 30mm x 6mm12g
Trezor Model T64mm x 39mm x 10mm16g

The Ledger blue has a 3.5-inch full-colour touchscreen. It’s responsive and makes authenticating transaction details much easier. The touchscreen is definitely a step-up from the Ledger Nano S or Trezor One.

Wallet Interface

Ledger Live offers a much better user experience.

Until recently, you had to manage your cryptocurrency wallets through multiple Chrome-based (or external) apps. It’s a clunky system, but it works without issue.

Ledger has now launched Ledger Live, which is an all-in-one desktop application which allows you to manage many different cryptocurrencies from a single application.

Ledger Live makes setting up and using the Ledger Blue more approachable for beginners. It’s still being developed (i.e., features missing and bugs), but works well enough.

You can find tutorials and documentation for every cryptocurrency supported by the Ledger Blue here.

Additional Features

Like the Ledger Nano S, the Ledger Blue can be used as a FIDO U2F (Universal 2-Factor) device. This adds an extra layer of security to some of your online accounts (e.g., Dropbox, Google, & GitHub).

In a recent firmware update, Ledger also added functionality which allows you to setup a second (hidden) wallet which is attached to your main wallet. This is awesome to have but is an advanced feature (i.e., use with caution). You can find more details here.

Hidden wallets facilitate plausible deniability.

Ledger Blue Price

The Ledger Blue is available on the official website for about £254 / €286 (incl. VAT & shipping). You can pay with a debit/credit card, PayPal, or Bitcoin (BTC).

For those from the UK, I’d recommend you buy this with Bitcoin (BTC). If you use a debit/credit card, you’ll probably be charged non-sterling transaction and purchase fees (2.75% at NatWest) when purchasing goods/services online with a foreign currency.

None of Ledger’s authorised resellers have the Ledger Blue in stock. You’ll have to buy through the official website.

This is the last batch of Ledger Blue’s which will be available. After this batch is sold out, it’ll only be available to Ledger’s enterprise customers.

WalletPrice (incl. VAT & Shipping)Official Website
Trezor One£113 / €128Official Trezor Shop
Trezor Model T£177 / €200Official Trezor Shop
Ledger Nano S£84 / €95Ledger Wallet
Ledger Blue£254 / €275Ledger Wallet

Ledger Nano S vs Ledger Blue

The Ledger Blue just seems like a dressed-up version of the Ledger Nano S.

Apart from the full-colour (320 x 480px) touchscreen, the Ledger Blue and Ledger Nano S don’t seem that different.

The touchscreen is a significant upgrade. It’s the equivalent of moving from a Nokia 5160 to an iPhone. It makes entering your PIN and authenticating transactions nowhere near as clunky.

However, despite claims that the Ledger Blue is their flagship product, it supports fewer cryptocurrencies (24) than the Ledger Nano S (28). And even though it has Bluetooth support, I couldn’t find any apps that utilised it (which also makes the battery redundant).

I found numerous threads in /r/LedgerWallet from frustrated buyers too. Here’s one…

Further complaints in this thread.

Even though I wanted to like the Ledger Blue, I wouldn’t recommend it over the Ledger Nano S.

Alternatives

The Trezor One, Ledger Nano S, and Trezor T are all great options.

The Ledger Nano S and Trezor are both popular, well-recommended, and affordable hardware wallets. Of these two, I prefer the Ledger Nano S – but they’re both great options.

The Trezor Model T is my favourite hardware wallet.

If you’re dead-set on getting a premium hardware wallet, then I’d recommend you check out the Trezor Model T. It’s the follow-up to the Trezor One and features a full-colour touchscreen (240 x 240px).

The Trezor Model T also runs on a different firmware to the original Trezor, dubbed ‘Trezor Core’. This should make it easier for the Trezor Model T to support more cryptocurrencies and add functionality.

Check out our Trezor Model T review to learn more.

Want some other options? Check out the KeepKey and Digital BitBox.

Summary: Is the Ledger Blue Worth It?

Is the Ledger Blue really worth the extra £170 / €190?

Even though it has a great touchscreen which makes it easier to check your transactions, I don’t think that alone makes the Ledger Blue worth the money.

Here are my issues with the Ledger Blue:

  • It has received fewer development and security updates than the Ledger Nano S.
  • This is the last batch available to the general public (which probably means updates will be even rarer).
  • It supports fewer cryptocurrencies than the Ledger Nano S.
  • It’s Bluetooth enabled, but none of their apps actually utilise this.

Overall, the Ledger Blue seems like a dressed up (but inferior) version of the Ledger Nano S.

I wouldn’t recommend it. For the average user, I think the Ledger Nano S is the better option.

If you really want a touchscreen, check out the Trezor T instead. I was impressed when I recently reviewed it.

What Do You Think?

What do you think about the Ledger Blue?

Do you prefer a different hardware wallet?

Let us know via social media – Twitter, Facebook, or Google+!

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