This post is part of TechAirlines' biweekly PrizeFly series. Every other Monday, we compare key features of 2-4 similar products and crown one as the "prized flyer".
Want to access your desktop computer from another computer or your tablet or smartphone? Does a friend need some tech support?
Whether it is for providing tech support or for accessing files from home while at work, remote desktop tools can come in handy. Best of all, tools like LogMeIn and Teamviewer provide a free version.
Table of Contents
This comparison is for the free versions of both services only.
LogMeIn provides several products, including a subscription-based remote access and support service and software. The free version provides many basic features, such as secure remote control from inside a web browser. The company also provides other products, such as network actualization and remote backup.
TeamViewer provides a free app for secure remote access and online meetings/presentations. The free edition is for personal non-commercial use only. Upgrades to commercial versions are one time payments.
1 – Remote Access via Desktop
The easiest and best performing method to connect remotely to another computer would be directly through the desktop, somewhat similar to running a virtual machine.
LogMeIn Free does not provide remote access via the desktop. This feature requires LogMeIn Ignition, which costs $39.95/year (separate from a Pro subscription).
TeamViewer provides a app for Windows, Mac, and Linux for accessing remote computers without the need to use a browser. Simply enter the remote computer’s assigned User ID and Password. The installer gives the option of running TeamViewer without having to install it.
The remote computer does not need to have TeamViewer installed. A portable “QuickSupport” edition is available, allowing incoming connections without any installation.
For performance purposes, various graphical features are automatically disabled by default, including the desktop background. This can still be re-enabled from the menu.
Chat is available, which can be very helpful when providing assistance. Multiple users can connect to one computer, allowing for collaboration.
Round 1 Results
LogMeIn Free does not provide a method to remotely access computers directly from the desktop without the need of a web browser.
TeamViewer provides a desktop client (installation is optional) to remotely control another computer. It includes numerous useful features including file transfer, chat, and meeting/presentation tools.
2 – Remote Access via Mobile
Sometimes, you will need to access a remote computer while you’re not at a physical computer. Fortunately, there are mobile apps that can help.
LogMeIn provides a free app for iOS, which allows you to connect to any remote computer running the LogMeIn software.
The app uses a virtual touch mouse to drag the cursor around. Tapping anywhere also moves the cursor and clicks. There are also several touch gestures available.
It can automatically set the computer resolution to match that of the iPad.
File transfer requires a Pro subscription. Remote control on Android requires purchasing the LogMeIn Ignition app, which costs $29.99.
TeamViewer provides a free app for iOS and Android. The app includes basic remote control access as well as file transfer. Remote access isn’t as intuitive as it is with LogMeIn. The mouse cursor needs to actually be dragged around (merely tapping doesn’t move it) and when zooming in, there doesn’t appear to be a way to move around using touch gestures.
Unlike LogMeIn, file transfer is available for free.
Round 2 Results
LogMeIn only has a free app for iOS. It’s app, however, is a bit more intuitive that that of TeamViewer, fully supporting zooming in, panning around, scrolling, and clicking, using various touch gestures. Unfortunately, file transfer is not included in the free version.
TeamViewer has a free app for both iOS and Android. Remote control is slightly more difficult to use than TeamViewer, with gestures focusing more on emulating mouse clicks and scrolls instead of ones that make more sense on a touch screen. Unlike LogMeIn, file transfer is provided for free.
3 – Remote Access via Web
You’re not always going to be able to install an app, especially if you’re using a public computer. Fortunately, both services allow you to access remote computers via a web browser.
Web access is the primary remote access method for the free version. Adobe Flash Player is required.
LogMeIn has extra tools such as a whiteboard and chat, which can be useful when providing remote assistance.
LogMeIn can also start up a sleeping computer, if its BIOS supports Wake-on-LAN.
TeamViewer also provides a method to access remote computers via a web browser. Like with LogMeIn, Adobe Flash Player is required.
It includes chat, which can be useful when providing remote assistance.
Round 3 Results
The web version is the primary method of connecting to remote computers using LogMeIn. It integrates with several useful assistance tools, like a whiteboard and chat.
TeamViewer also has a web version to connect to remote computers from a web browser. It integrates with chat to collaborate with others.
So what is the weighted average score of each service?
Therefore, with a score of 4.5 to 3.37, the “prized flyer” for free remote desktop connection is…
What is your favorite remote desktop connection app? Vote in the poll above and share the reasons for your choice in the comments.