Next up in our series of reviews of remote desktop and VNC applications for the iPad is an application called Desktop Connect. Like the last remote desktop application reviewed (iTeleport) it has its pluses and minuses, but much more enjoyable and easier to use and a slight bit cheaper as well.
First installation of the Easy Connect application on your remote machine(s) is highly recommended. Download of this remote desktop client application is free – the link for the Mac OS X client is here and Windows client here. It has been certified to contain “No adware, spyware, or malware”, according to this page on the Antacea website, the vendor of Desktop Connect.
After installation of Easy Connect on the Mac, you will most likely be prompted to allow the application EasyNat to allow incoming connections. Click the Allow button as this permits the Easy Connect software to accept requests from your iPad and Desktop Connect to work properly. I also chose to tick the Enable SSL box, and later discovered that unless this was ticked on I was unable to view my remote desktop screen on the iPad.
After allowing, ticking, and clicking the sign in button and entering your gmail account credentials on the Mac or PC Easy Connect client, turn to your iPad to run the Desktop Connect app. After the “hand” splash screen appears, once again enter the same gmail account credentials you did in Easy Connect. After a brief authentication, your iPad and desktop computer will be speaking to one another, the gmail account credentials provide the mechanism to accomplish this. A dialog will then appear prompting you to enter the user name and password used to log in to your computer. This is not the same account as the gmail account just entered, at this point you most likely have “muscle memory” caused by entering the same google account information multiple times and may be tempted to do so again out of habit. The normal Mac OS or Windows user name and password works quite nicely.
The next screen you see after entering your desktop credentials is the welcome image of your desktop screen. You will also be pleased to note that the pinch technique works quite well for zooming in and out of screen areas. Movement of the mouse took a couple of minutes to get used to, but works like a charm. On the top menu at centre I selected the icon that looks like a finger tapping a circle. After selection, I used this technique to move the mouse pointer and click: Tap once with your finger, move the mouse pointer (your finger on the screen) to the desired spot, and tap again to “click” the mouse on the remote desktop. Your finger does not need to be placed over the remote mouse pointer, it will move the same exact distance up/down/left/right that you move your finger regardless of your fingers’ position on the screen, thereby making mouse movements and clicking incredibly easy on a touch screen interface like the iPad.
Keyboard support is good and I especially liked the manner in which the function keys and arrow and cursor keys are presented to the user.
As easy as the app was to use I found that WiFi is a must as I could not find a way to get remote desktop connectivity over a 3G connection. I also was not able to view an image of my desktop screen unless the SSL option was ticked on as mentioned earlier, I really wanted to try viewing video with the sound setting turned on over a faster non-SSL type of connection. But at the end of the day I most likely wouldn’t use this application in that manner anyway. Issues aside, using Desktop Connect is generally a pleasant user experience.
Verdict: At a price of $14.99 (US), I highly recommend Desktop Connect for the iPad. Get it from the App Store here.
Disclaimer: I am not associated or employed by any company producing software reviewed on this site.