CoolWallet S Review (2019)

The CoolWallet S is a cryptocurrency hardware wallet released by CoolBitX in 2018.
It’s not like the Ledger Nano S or Trezor One. It’s a completely different beast. After I’d finished this review, it was clear that it was the most convenient and portable cryptocurrency hardware wallet I’d ever reviewed.
In this CoolWallet S review, I’ll be covering:


Thursday January 01, 1970

Advantages & Disadvantages of the CoolWallet S
What is the CoolWallet S?
Supported Cryptocurrencies
What’s Included?
The Design
The Interface
Is the CoolWallet S Safe?
Setting up the CoolWallet S
CoolWallet S Price
Alternative Hardware Wallets
Summary [the TL;DR]


Thursday January 01, 1970

Advantages & Disadvantages
Advantages


Thursday January 01, 1970

‘Coolest’ looking hardware wallet on the market.
Convenient and portable (no USB connection required).

Disadvantages

Alternatives support more cryptocurrencies.
Physical authentication via button press, not PIN code.
Can’t export historical transactions.

What Is the CoolWallet S?

The CoolWallet S is an ultra-thin cryptocurrency hardware wallet which was released in 2018 by CoolBitX. With something like this, you’re able to securely store, send, and receive Bitcoin (BTC) and other alternative cryptocurrencies (detailed below).
When you do want to send cryptocurrency with the CoolWallet S, you’ll need to physically confirm the transaction details by pressing a button on the device. Because of this, they’re considered MUCH more secure than a software wallet that you’d install on your PC or smartphone.

CoolBitX was founded in 2014 and successfully raised $21,686 for the first iteration of the CoolWallet. In 2017, they raised $500,000 in seed round funding from Kyber Capital, Midana Capital, and OwlTing. In 2018, 40% of the company was then purchased by SBI Holdings.
CoolBitX has also recently partnered with the Litecoin Foundation with a visible endorsement by Charlie Lee (creator of Litecoin) on their website.

Supported Cryptocurrencies
The CoolWallet S supports the following cryptocurrencies:

Bitcoin (BTC)
Ethereum (ETH)
Litecoin (LTC)
Ripple (XRP)
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Horizen (ZEN)
ERC20 Tokens (e.g., ZRX, BAT, LINK)

For the most up-to-date list of supported cryptocurrencies, check out this page.

What’s in the Box?

The CoolWallet S ships out in compact packaging which is wrapped in clear plastic. There’s an anti-tamper seal on the box too.

Here’s what’s in the box:

CoolWallet S Hardware Wallet
USB Adapter (used to charge up the hardware wallet)
Short USB Cable
Recovery Card (to store recovery words)
1x Sticker

No paper manual is included, but you can find that online here. You’ll find it quite useful for setting up and using the device for the first time.

Design

The CoolWallet S has the same form factor as a standard bank card (85.6 x 53.98 x 0.8mm). It’s really quite impressive. I don’t think there’s a better-looking hardware wallet on the market.

In my opinion, the form factor also makes it a little more incognito than alternative hardware wallets. It’s durable enough to confidently store in your wallet too, alongside all your other bank cards.

Because it’s battery powered and interfaces via an encrypted Bluetooth connection, it’s the most convenient and portable hardware wallet I’ve ever used. While it’s great for long-term storage (like a cold wallet), it’s also fantastic for easy and secure on-the-go usage (like a hot wallet). It’s unlike anything else which is currently on the market.
Some other CoolWallet S features:

Compatible with smartphones (or tablets) running Android 6+ or iOS 9.1+.
Equipped with a rechargeable battery (which lasts around 2 weeks with a single charge).
Waterproof (for up to an hour).
Slightly bendable (up to about 15 degrees).
Able to withstand temperatures between -10 and +50 Celsius.

Interface
The interface is simple, intuitive, and easy to use (I appreciate the dark theme too).

It includes functionality you’d expect in any mobile wallet. You have a simple dashboard which provides an overview of your various cryptocurrency balances. You also have tabs which allow you to easily send and receive different cryptocurrencies.

The CoolWallet S has integrated Changelly into this app, which also allows you to easily exchange your cryptocurrencies.
I was surprised that there’s no built-in passcode required to access the mobile app. If your phone is unlocked, someone can just open the mobile app and check your balance (not good). If you’re not happy about that, there are mobile security tools (e.g., Bitdefender) which allow you to ‘lock’ apps like this behind an additional PIN code.

CoolWallet S: Is It Safe?
Secure Chip
The CoolWallet S includes a CC EAL 5+ certified secure element. Secure elements like this are used in the majority of cryptocurrency wallets. The sensitive information, like your private keys, are securely stored inside this chip. Even when authorising a cryptocurrency transaction, this sensitive data isn’t leaked over the Bluetooth connection to your phone.
Encrypted Bluetooth

The Bluetooth connection between the CoolWallet S and your smartphone:

Only initialises when they’re within 10 metres of each other.
Requires a dedicated passcode to setup.
Utilises AES256 encryption.

I couldn’t find anything to suggest this Bluetooth connection wasn’t safe. Even if it wasn’t, no sensitive information is sent through this channel (because all the sensitive operations are conducted on the CoolWallet S itself).
2+1 Authentication
To process a transaction with the CoolWallet S, you’ll be required to:

Confirm ownership of the phone (via fingerprint, your face, or PIN).
Visual authentication of the amount and destination address on the CoolWallet S.
Physically press the button on the CoolWallet S to confirm the transaction.

Address Verification
Although not enabled by default, you’re able to turn on a setting in the mobile app to show the destination address when sending coins with the CoolWallet S. It’s a bit strange that this is optional and not enabled by default.
To do this:

Go to ‘Settings’ in the bottom right of the mobile app.
Under ‘Card Management’, select ‘Show full address’

Slide this setting on.

Setting up the CoolWallet S

Setting up the CoolWallet S is simple and easy.
There’s an overview of the process in this video, but there’s an online manual (with pictures) which walks through the whole process too (see here).
Once I’d updated the firmware, it took less than a minute to pair the CoolWallet with my smartphone.
Creating a new wallet takes a little longer, as you’ll need to carefully write down (and verify) your recovery seed. You’ll use this to restore your wallet if it’s lost, stolen, or damaged. Although it’s more hassle, your wallet will be more secure if you generate the 24-word wallet seed on your card (as shown below).

To verify you’ve written down the recovery seed correctly, you’ll be asked to add up the numbers you’ve recorded. I’d recommend you use an old-school calculator (which won’t be connected to the Internet) to do this. If that’s not an option, add up the numbers using multiple devices.
Why? If you just use a single internet-connected device to verify your recovery seed, you’ll be (unnecessarily) exposing your entire recovery seed.

CoolWallet S Price
The CoolWallet S is available from the official website for $99 (£78 / €87), with free shipping to the United States, United Kingdom, and many other countries. This price includes a 12-month warranty.
Depending on where you’re located, you might need to pay tax and import duties. To import into the UK, I was charged £20 in duty fees.

WalletPrice Incl. VAT, Shipping, and Duties (Approx.)Official Website  

CoolWallet S£98Find out more

Ledger Nano S£90Find out more

Trezor One£85Find out more

Trezor Model T£173Find out more

While they do support standard credit cards, you can also pay with Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum (ETH), Monero (XMR), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and more.
I couldn’t find any CoolWallet coupon codes. In the past, they’ve had 40% off coupon codes for a limited time. Check out their Twitter or subreddit for coupons before you make your purchase.
If you’d prefer to purchase from an official reseller, you can find your local options here.

Alternatives

The Ledger Nano S and Trezor One are market-leading devices. Last time I checked, the Ledger Nano S had sold over 1.3 million units worldwide. We don’t know how many Trezors have been sold, but it’s probably close to Ledger’s numbers.
They’re both well-recommended because they’re competitively priced, easy to use, and continue to add support for more and more cryptocurrencies. Of the two, we prefer the Ledger Nano S. You can learn more about the Ledger Nano S here.

Summary: The Wireless Hardware Wallet

It’s hard to not be impressed by the CoolWallet S.
In addition to its sleek and professional form factor, it’s the most convenient and portable cryptocurrency hardware wallet which I’ve ever tested. Using the CoolWallet S on-the-go is just miles easier and quicker to use than hardware wallets which require a USB connection (which all others do).
But honestly? The CoolWallet S won’t topple the top dogs – the Ledger Nano S & Trezor One.
You’ll still want a traditional USB hardware wallet to securely store the majority of your cryptocurrency stash. But when you’re out and about and want to actually use it? That’s where the CoolWallet S comes into play – which is, essentially, a mobile wallet with some beefed-up security.
Want to find out more? Check out the official website.
Want More?
Check out our other hardware wallet reviews:

Trezor Model T
Coldcard
Ledger Nano S
Trezor

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