At a Glance
- Hassle-free connections on wireless or wired network; Full remote control capabilities; Clients for Windows, OS X, iPhone, iPad, and Android
- Internet Discovery feature has trouble connecting at times and requires a Google ID; Not as fast as some competitors; Seems to slow down computer
Splashtop gives you remote access to all your computers with just a few simple clicks.
There was a time when pcAnywhere was the only software available
if you needed to take remote control of another computer. Times
have changed, however, and several other options–such as Teamviewer,
and the recently-reviewed Remote
Utilities–have points to recommend them. Another company,
Splashtop, has developed similar software for Mac for quite some
time, and it’s now available for Windows systems as well.
Like most remote control software, there are two components to
Splashtop: the Streamer, which you install on computers you want to
control, and the Remote, which you install on your “command
center.” Each download is less than 10 megabytes, and vendor
Splashtop Inc. offers Splashtop Remote apps for the iPhone, iPad,
and Android and webOS devices as well.
One of Splashtop’s best features is visible right from the
get-go. After installing the Streamer on your host computers,
launch the Splashtop Remote on your control system. Splashtop will
automatically scan your network for available hosts that are
running Streamer and let you connect with a single click.
While connected, Splashtop automatically redirects all your
keystrokes to the remote computer. This is a thoughtful tweak,
because remote control programs that don’t do this by default
can be a bit confusing. If your keystrokes aren’t being
redirected, when you tap the Windows key your start menu
appears, not the remote system’s start menu. I was glad to
see that Splashtop nipped that problem in the bud.
Splashtop automatically scales the remote desktop to fit your
display, and you can also expand to a full-screen view. Switching
between views requires only a single click.
Here’s where I ran into the occasional hiccup: On my host
computer, overall performance sometimes took a hit while the
Splashtop Remote was connected to one of my host systems running
Streamer. When I tabbed out to other applications like Word or
Firefox, text didn’t appear as quickly as it should have
while I typed and the mouse cursor stuttered while moving. As soon
as I disconnected my Splashtop session, things returned to normal.
Other times, however, there was no such performance hit and both
computers ran silky-smooth.
I also had problems activating the Internet Discovery feature,
which is a shame because it’s incredibly useful. Internet
Discovery allows you to connect to your home computers running
Streamer from anywhere in the world. However, you must have a
Google account to sign in to the service and it wasn’t always
able to process my credentials. Instead the progress indicator
would spin and spin and eventually time out. This happened on three
different computers from time to time, though all three were able
to connect eventually.
Once Splashtop works out the kinks in its new Windows Remote, it
will rank right up there with more mature apps like Teamviewer. If
you’re only interested in controlling computers on your home
network, however, Splashtop Remote Desktop might just be the
simplest way there is to set up remote access.