The Best VNC Client For Android

Android has a few great VNC apps, and a few not so great. If we had to pick the best, we'd choose PocketCloud for how insanely easy to use it is.

PocketCloud

Platform: iOS/Android and Windows/Mac Price: Free, $8.45 Pro Download Page

  • Incredibly easy-to-use interface, no instructions required
  • Honeycomb tablet support
  • Automatically detects your running computers through your Google Account, no new account creation necessary
  • Uses a cursor for precise actions
  • Keyboard auto-activation
  • Custom keyboards with shortcuts
  • Add as many computers are you want (Pro only; free limited to 1)
  • 256-bit NLA/TLS encryption for RDP, 128-bit encryption for VNC (Pro only)
  • Remote sound support (Pro only)
  • More advanced features available in the Pro version

PocketCloud excels at being easy to use. You don't need to learn any special gestures or read any instructions to get started. Just fire up the server app on your computer, type in your Google Account, and then fire up the client on your phone. After typing in your Google credentials, you can tap right into your computer and control it with a cursor that's extremely easy to use. It also has a lot of nice tweaks in the settings that let you change the picture quality and bandwidth usage, so you get the best experience possible. It does still have a few useful gestures

While PocketCloud is easy to use, it can be a little slow to use. That is, when compared with something like TeamViewer, it seems like you're clicking through a lot of menus and hitting a lot of buttons to do stuff. Other apps require a bit of orientation before you can start using them, but are often better off for it in the end. However, it's still a pretty small downside, and the precision you get from PocketCloud's interface is really nice, especially when you're trying to control a 1080p monitor from a tiny phone. It also changes the resolution and aspect ratio of my screen when VNCing into Windows, which seems unnecessary and is annoying.

PhoneMyPC is my personal favourite of the bunch. Unlike PocketCloud, it requires a bit of orientation before you get started -- learning the gestures, tweaking settings, and so on -- but it is worth it once you start using it. Instead of controlling the mouse with buttons, most of its done through taps and gestures, which are much faster than PocketCloud's method, though it takes a bit more work to start. It has some nice quality tweaking settings, as well as the ability to change what each gesture does, which is something no other VNC client has. Its big drawback is that its Windows only and that it's $US15, so if you're looking for cheap, cross-platform VNC support, this isn't it. If you're on Windows, though, and you're willing to pay the $US15, it's a fantastic client. If you want something a bit cheaper but with a similar control scheme, you'll want to try...

TeamViewer is another great, cross-platform client. Its control is similar to PhoneMyPC, but with a few missing features, like the ability to customise gestures and forward sound to your phone. It is, however, free, which is very nice. Again, it takes a bit of orientation, but once you've got the gestures down (which doesn't take too long), it's a breeze to control.

Splashtop is another popular option. It has some nice gestures, like two-finger scrolling, but others are a bit unintuitive. It also has the annoying resolution change "feature" that PocketCloud does, with seemingly no option to turn it off. However, it played Flash videos better than any of the other clients, so if your goal is to watch Flash videos on your phone. Splashtop's probably the best option.

LogMeIn is one of the biggest names in VNC, but LogMeIn Ignition for Android is a little disappointing. While it's one of the smoothest clients I found, controlling it was more difficult than every other client I've used. And, with a $US15 price tag, it's definitely not worth the cost. I'd say go with TeamViewer or PocketCloud before trying this one out.

Lifehacker's App Directory is a new and growing directory of recommendations for the best applications and tools in a number of given categories.


Comments

    Errr Guys, aren't you preaching to the choir a bit here? With no explanation of what VNC actually stands for, the above article is pretty oblique. Am I the only one who had to Google it?

      If you don't know what it is, you probably don't need it...
      I really want a client that can do Windows' native Demote Desktop Connection... Nothing I've found can actually successfully log in.

      Do you mean ‘opaque’?

    SplashTop on sale for $0.99 and so far seems to be a really nice remote interface.

    OK, I’ve installed PocketCloud on my Android tablet. Where’s the download for my Ubuntu PC? I don’t see it.

    Worthless app so far.

Join the discussion!