The iPad is a great remote desktop tool, but there are tons of VNC apps and many are very pricey. Luckily for you, we've sifted through a bunch to help you find the best for your needs.
We've received a lot of requests for remote desktop comparisons on the iPad, so we've finally taken a look and settled on the best in three categories. While there are a handful of options for remote desktop, VNC is well-supported and popular across major computing platforms. It's something everyone can use. As a result, we're focusing on VNC apps and not considering the other options (such as RDP, running a proprietary server on your computer, using an intermediary web site, etc.). If you're looking for those, you've come to the wrong place. If you're embracing the world of VNC, however, welcome to the party.
Best of the Best: Screens
Holy crap, Screens is an incredible VNC client. I never thought I'd actually be excited about VNC but boy does it do a nice job. Screens makes it very easy to find and add new machines you want to connect to over VNC. It'll look on your local network and let you choose from a list. If you select one, it'll fill in everything you need except for your password. You can either opt to enter it now and save it for easy connections, or leave it blank and enter it each time you connect.
Once you're connected to a machine, that's when things get fun. Screens keeps a bunch of handy buttons available to you at all times at the bottom of your iPad's screen. Up top you have the option of expanding to a full-size keyboard or switching to some very useful shortcut buttons. The shortcut buttons perform common tasks like window minimisation, copying, pasting and several other things that save you a few taps. What makes Screens particularly cool, however, is the multitouch gesture support. My favourite is the ability to scroll with two fingers, but a few others (like Exposé gestures) are supported as well.
The only real downside to Screens is that it costs $18 (soon to be raised). It's certainly not the most expensive VNC app you could buy, but it's definitely a more costly option. That said, if you want an all-around excellent performer with a slick interface, it's worth the fee.
Screens | iTunes App Store
The Freebie Award: Mocha VNC Lite
(Click to enlarge.)
We've mentioned Mocha a few times in posts as a good free option for VNC on your iPad, but here's the official word. While Mocha VNC Lite is definitely an option, you get what you pay for. It does nothing to help you set things up, I couldn't figure out how to actually enter commands, and it has an unusually unattractive interface. All of that said, it works. You can connect to your computer over VNC, point, click, and type. While it doesn't do much else, it does get the job done. If you play to only use VNC on your iPad casually, Mocha VNC Lite should serve you just fine.
Mocha VNC Lite | iTunes App Store
The Goodie Bag Prize: iTeleport Jaadu VNC
If Screens doesn't give you the endless number of features you want out of an iPad VNC app, iTeleport Jaadu VNC is what you're looking for. At $US25 it's hardly a steal, but it packs in all the functionality you could possibly imagine. It, of course, connects to your remote machines over VNC but there's so much more you can do. The latest version offers support for Bluetooth keyboards and VGA output. iTeleport provides you with plenty of handy shortcuts, just like Screens, and adds a number of useful security features. The downside was control. While it's not necessarily difficult to control your remote desktop via iTeleport, it's not as straightforward as it was with screens. Nonetheless, if you're in the market for a goodie bag of features with your VNC client, iTeleport is your best option.
iTeleport: Jaadu VNC | iTunes App Store
That's all for now! Happy remote desktopping!