Does it ever happen to you, that you are away from one of your computers and you find that you would very much like to be able to carry out a particular task on it, but you can’t; and your only choice is to wait till you are at the computer to do what you wanted to do? What could these tasks be, you ask?
Well, for example;
- You forgot to email those important files from your home laptop to your office laptop.
- You forgot to hit send on that mail that is lying in your drafts folder.
- Your wife wants to use the home computer but can’t figure out where everything is in Windows 8 / Mac OS X
- Your dad / mom call you for troubleshooting their computer but that’s so hard to do on the phone and you end up with a headache.
- You started a scan in the morning but ran off to work so you didn’t know if your home computer was infected or not.
- You are the kind of person who shuts down (WTF?) their home computer every time you leave the house. (and you drive a hybrid)
- You were browsing Moviefone.com and realized that “The Dark Knight Rises” is out on DVD and you must have it! (Don’t pretend that you don’t check Moviefone.com every other day)
- You are just bored and wanted to see what the home computer was up to…
See, plenty of times when you may want to access that computer which you can’t right now. That’s where Splashtop comes in. This is a app for iOS and Android (and BlackBerry too) devices that lets you control up to 5 computers (Windows or Mac or Linux) from your iPad or Android tablet. This review will be focus on the iPad app and its usage.
Splashtop is extremely simple to use. All the computer that you need to access need to have installed the Splashtop Streamer software available from the Splashtop website. This Streamer client is available for Windows, Mac and Linux as well. On the iPad you need to install the Splashtop app. (The Splashtop App for iOS is currently on sale for $2.99 instead of the regular price of $19.99.) Once you have the app installed, you need to create an account with Splashtop and this account will be used to access the computers that have the streamer installed. On the desktop / laptop you need to login to your Splashtop account that you created through the app, and that’s it.
There are two types of access that this app can provide. The standard app which you get allows you to access these computers as long as they are on the same WiFi network. This may be useful to quickly access your computer from your iPad in case you are not in the same room. Not very useful, although it is a convenience. The second option is where all the power of this app lies. The Splashtop Anywhere Access Pack (AAP) allows you to access your computers remotely from anywhere. This is an in app purchase for $0.99 per month or for $9.99 for one year. I strongly recommend that you take the annual pricing so that you won’t be restricted by time. Although, if you just want to try it out, you may want to start with the one month purchase of the AAP.
The most important thing that I like about the app is the simplicity and ease of use. No complicated set ups and no run around for connecting. Just a simple login and you are ready to go. The aim is clearly to not bother the user with the intricacies of remote access. The app even optimizes the display quality depending on your connection.
The smoothness of the app is really what sets this apart from other remote apps that I have used. However, a good internet connection is definitely required. I would assume really bad quality video in case you don’t have a good connection. The does a good job of streaming video and audio from your computer to your iPad. However, I found that, this is heavily dependent on the program that the video is running in on the computer. In short VLC = good stream through Splashtop, Windows Media Center = bad quality. Also, Windows Media Center does not run in full screen view since full screen is not yet supported.
I am currently using this with two of my computers and I have yet to find anything that doesn’t work.
Splashtop is currently on sale on iOS and seems to be free for Android. It is also available for the Blackberry Playbook where it is listed at about $6.99.