You can use your Android phone to remotely access and control your computer through a technology known as VNC or virtual network computing. This is one of those solutions that can help out in situations like say you want to travel light and leave behind your laptop, or you’ve forgotten an important file in your desktop at home, or even remotely assist a friend with some technical issue on his PC. There are several VNC apps available for the Android platform and the following is an attempt to outline the advantages of some of those deemed to be good options.
If you’re new to VNC, then PocketCloud from Wyse Technology is probably a good entry point. Its most noteworthy feature is an intuitive user interface that’s so easy to use you’ll hardly need a manual. Install and launch the server app on your computer, access your Google account, and then do the same for the client app on your smartphone. With those simple initial steps, you already gain access and control of the computer from the phone.
Other user-friendly features are:
- Compatibility for both Windows and Mac with support for Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Protocol
- Connection through Wi-Fi or 3G/4G networks
- Android 2.1 minimum OS requirement but has support for Honeycomb
- Automatic detection of networked computer through existing Google Account
- Touch Pointer for more accurate screen control
- Automatic activation of keyboard
PocketCloud’s basic version is free but you can always choose to shelve out some cash and go Pro which then gives you:
- Access to multiple computers
- 256-bit NLA/TLS encryption for RDP and 128-bit encryption for VNC
- Resolution flexibility (RDP)
- Sound control (RDP)
- Option to assign phone SD card as network drive
Some customer reviews note that the app can be a little slow compared to other Android VNC clients. The ease of use however more than makes up for the performance lag and may not be that big an issue for beginners. If you have the time to learn how to operate more complex VNC client apps, the following are three good alternatives to PocketCloud.
PhoneMyPC – The outstanding feature of this app is that control of the remote computer’s mouse is more significantly done through taps and gestures. In addition, you can even customize the function of each gesture. To take full advantage of this however you need to initially learn the default commands and interface, and really familiarize yourself with the settings options. The downside here is that this app is only compatible with Windows and costs $15.
TeamViewer – This VNC client app has the benefit of being free and cross-platform. It also uses gestures for control which also naturally requires some orientation with the commands. Unlike PhoneMyPC however you can’t reset what each gesture can do.
Splashtop – Among the apps mentioned here, this one has the best response when it comes to Flash multimedia. It also uses gesture like the first two, but some parts of the control scheme can be somewhat confusing.