Back in April 2019, Prestige IT was sent as an ANO (Authority Node Operator) on behalf of a Factom Protocol marketing effort to the Global Blockchain Expo in London. While at the event, we cruised the exhibition floor and talked with most of the other event sponsors at their booths. One of the new companies we stumbled upon was SecuX, a hardware wallet company based out of Taiwan. Prestige IT offers enterprise blockchain security advisory and auditing services, and as a result we regularly recommend hardware wallet products to our clients, so we were super excited to see what SecuX had to offer that made it stand out against competitor products like the Ledger Nano S. At the SecuX booth, they had several products on display but they were mainly focused on their new flagship W20 and V20 hardware wallets. These products from what I can tell are identical in functionality, but the V20 has a rounded design and a more premium build materials. The company reps showcased us these products and then we discussed the hardware and security, among many other things. We had such pleasant talks with the team from SecuX that we kept in touch once we returned to the Prestige IT offices from Europe after the event.
When our friends at SecuX offered to send us a demo unit of their W20 hardware wallet for review a few weeks later, we were excited to really see what this device could offer, and how it stacks up against the competition from Ledger. Now, I know there are other hardware wallets out there, but I consider the Ledger line of products to be the accepted standard in this space at this time. So that is what we will be comparing our SecuX W20 to for the purposes of this review. We have been using the SecuX wallet for some light crypto use in our office the past couple of weeks and here is our report.
April 2020 Update – There have been several improvements to both the W20 wallet firmware, and secuxtech.com wallet web app, since we originally wrote this article last year. The W20 wallet firmware has been redesigned and makes more functional use of the W20’s large screen. The initial setup is refined, and entering my 24 word recovery phrase seemed easier this time around. The home screen is also greatly improved, moving the options formerly seen on the left hand side of the screen, to a hamburger menu in the top left corner. This reclaims some much need screen real estate for more important data to be displayed with easier readability. QR codes now scan off this device with even greater ease, and overall the firmware update new UI/UX on the wallet side is great. The web wallet app located at wallet.secuxtech.com has received a UI/UX overhaul as well and is now much easier to navigate and use. Along with the nice UI/UX features we also now have additional token support as the SecuX wallets now support Binance Token (BNB), Dash (DASH), Stellar (XLM), Dogecoin (DOGE), Groestlcoin (GRS), and DigiByte (DGB), in addition to BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, and LTC.
We are overall very satisfied with the new updates to the SecuX line. These refinements continue to improve the overall user experience, and the increased token support is of course always welcome. Although we still hope to see the number of tokens supported continue to increase, and the addition of Web3 support in browsers such as Brave to interact with Ethereum dapps would be nice as well. SecuX seems to be continuing to grow its product offering over the last year, and is also now offering an offline Merchant PoS system that can be used with the SecuX line of hardware wallet products. This tells me that we should continue to see new features in the coming months as the full vision for the SecuX ecosystem becomes more and more fleshed out. Here is a screenshot of the new Web App interface that you can compare to the earlier images from last year.
Disclaimer: Prestige IT was in no way compensated by SecuX or any other company for writing this review. The views stated in this article are solely the opinions of the author, and should be treated as such. We did receive a free demo unit from SecuX for the purposes of writing this article.
The SecuX wallet came in packaging that was a step up from what is offered from Ledger with the Nano S. The W20 came in a nice sturdy box with magnetic lid that left the otherwise plain packaging feeling premium.
Upon opening the magnetic lid, you are presented with the W20 hardware unit and it’s 2.8” touchscreen. After removing the hardware wallet and the protective foam insert, there is a micro USB cable, Getting Started Guide, a nice microfiber pouch, and a couple recovery sheets to write your recovery phrase down on.
The build of the wallet feels durable in the hand however, it is entirely plastic and pretty lightweight making it feel a little cheap. Perhaps the V20 device has more to offer in this regard, as the one on display at the expo seemed to have more heft to it and metal used in the construction, but the W20 model we have definitely leaves room for improvement here.
Disclaimer: Prestige IT was provided the following picture of the V20 device by SecuX to offer a product comparison, we did not test this device.
After powering on the device you are presented with the 2.8” touchscreen in all it’s glory and prompted to set a pin code. While this screen definitely was not impressive in terms of resolution or responsiveness, it is definitely a huge step up from other hardware wallets like the Trezor, Ledger, or Keepkey products that I have used previously.
After creating a 4-8 digit pin code, you are prompted to set the Device name. The ability to enter this setup information directly on the device on the QWERTY keyboard without the need to attach to a computer was nice, but the touch screen could prove to be a little unresponsive and difficult to type on. Since this is supposed to be a one time setup process, it is not too bad.
After entering these details, you are then presented with the option to configure the wallet as a new device (generate a new recovery phrase and private keys), or to recover an existing configuration (import an existing recovery phrase). Since this is the first time we have used this product, and we want to generate a new wallet, we will hit configure as a new device.
After choosing to configure as a new device, you are then presented with your recovery phrase to capture on the included paper recovery sheets. One thing I did notice here is that the 24 words are broken into sections of 8 on the recovery card, but broken into pages of six on the wallet screen. This can be pretty confusing when filling out the card, and since this is a critical piece of recovery information I believe they should leave as little room for user error and confusion as possible. It’s something small, but it could lead to a user not copying down their seed incorrectly.
After securely copying down your recovery phrase, you then are prompted to confirm it on the device. Now here it presents you with auto-fill options which are a lifesaver, because typing 24 words on this thing is kind of a cumbersome process. Again, I should mention that this is intended to be a one time setup process, and doing all of this directly on the device as opposed to connecting it to a device is much more secure. After the words are confirmed, it then initializes the product and stores the recovery phrase’s associated private keys in it’s CC EAL 5+ certified Security Element chip.
After the system initialization is complete you are presented with a blank account information screen which you’ll need to now connect this device to a computer or mobile device using the web wallet interface to populate the desired cryptocurrencies and their public addresses.
The software wallet is completely web based for desktop and mobile devices (iOS users will need app from app store) and can be found at https://wallet.secuxtech.com. To use the wallet interface, simply connect the wallet via USB or Bluetooth, and then navigate to the URL using Chrome. One small gripe was that this web application was not compatible with Brave browser which has come to take over Chrome as the default on all my devices. However, this may or may not be SecuX’s fault. I would like to see it resolved though in future iterations, since many crypto other users probably use this browser as well.
The web wallet is simple and very easy to use. I know it lacks many of the features of the Ledger Live application, but it’s actually very pleasant to use. You can truly access the hardware wallet from any device, no need for Bluetooth pairing, or preinstalled application. I prefer this approach greatly to a local application that I need installed on my devices. Also, I’ve had numerous issues with the Ledger Live application as of late, and this just worked without a hitch. All I needed to do was select which currency I wanted to create an address for, and then create and name a new wallet.
Probably one of the greatest features of this wallet has that it’s competitors in this price range do not, is the ability to send deposits directly to the hardware wallet easily without needing to connect it to a device and expose it to the internet. This is enabled via the 2.8’ touchscreen’s display of QR codes that are readable right off the hardware wallet itself, making deposits a breeze. As far as I am aware, the only other dedicated hardware wallet with this ability I’ve seen is the Coldlar wallet which costs $650 at the time of this writing. I love how easy it is to make a deposit without needed to connect it via Bluetooth or USB to any device. Where as by contrast on my Ledger Nano S, I have to connect it to the Ledger Live app and then navigate to the app for the currency I want to deposit on the ledger for it to show my public address to make a deposit. Additionally, whenever entering a new app on my ledger, the latest build of Ledger Live would crash on my PC.
After transacting with the device, balances are shown directly on the device screen. This is a handy feature as you do not need to connect the wallet to a device to check the balance. However, if you send a deposit to the device via on screen QR code, you will need to connect the wallet to a device to update the balances for the deposit amount to show on the hardware wallet:
For what it’s worth, it’s hard to go back to the Nano after using the SecuX wallet. I think the cross platform web wallet is innovative, and makes the device very easy to use. From a security standpoint they have a CC EAL 5+ certified Security Element chip protecting the private keys, and a tamper proof firmware preload and upgrade mechanism, as well as a randomized digital keypad and physical confirmation for each transaction. The web wallet is simple and lacks many features competitors such as Ledger Live may offer, but none of them really matter to me personally. The main thing is the web wallet works great and is incredibly easy to use from any device. Using the Bluetooth connection to my Galaxy S10 was flawless and very fast. No need for device pairing or app install from the Play Store. Sending and receiving from this device is super fast and easy, and receiving can be done directly on the hardware wallet via on screen QR code without connecting to a mobile device or PC. I really like this feature and it is definitely a security benefit to not need to expose the device to an internet connected endpoint just to receive a deposit. Although, I should mention that the device will not show the new deposit balance until the next time it is connected to a device and has the balances refreshed.
The only thing I really feel is lacking here is the number of currencies supported. At the time of this writing the SecuX W20 wallet only supports BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, and LTC. I would expect to see increased support for other blockchains in the future, as this seems to be way too few in 2019. It does however support all ERC 20 tokens on Ethereum, so that does boost its numbers somewhat. I have also been told that several UI/UX improvements are in the works for the web wallet and will be released in the coming weeks. All things considered, I have to recommend this over the Ledger Nano products at the current prices. The SecuX W20 wallet is currently available for $129.99 at https://secuxtech.com putting it in line with the new Bluetooth enabled Ledger Nano X priced at $119.99. However, due to the ability to deposit directly to the device, and the super easy to use and cross platform web wallet application, I would at this time recommend the SecuX W20 over the Nano X for those Hodlers trying to store major reserve currencies and/or ERC 20 tokens. If you personally need a hardware wallet that supports more currencies within your portfolio, then maybe the Ledger or Trezor products may be more suited for you, but I’m sure we will see more token support coming in future firmware updates from SecuX for the W20.
The Prestige IT team was pleasantly surprised by this feature filled competitively priced new offering from SecuX, and we are happy to announce we are proudly giving this product the Prestige IT Shield of Approval.
As a bonus for our readers, you can receive a 15% off your order from SecuX by entering the coupon code “PrestigeIT15” at checkout at https://secuxtech.com/shop/