VNC Connect offers the speed of direct connections, as well as portal-based management for only a few bucks per computer. It’s not dead easy to set up, but it offers the broadest operating system support in the industry.
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VNC Connect is RealVNC’s pay-per-chair remote desktop solution. But unlike a service like GoToMyPC, which can cost $35 per computer per month, you’re only talking a few dollars per PC. Setting up the server requires a bit of knowledge, but once that’s complete, the rest is easy.
Note: This review is part of our roundup of Best remote desktop software. Go there to learn more about our evaluation process and how competing products compare.
VNC Connect: Setup and features
Like Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection, VNC Connect may require some playing around with your router and firewall. Beyond that, you can basically click-through the installer and be ready to go. Optimally, at any rate—I had to change the port from 5900 because of a conflict, likely with another of the remote desktop programs I’ve been testing. A warning symbol on the setup page alerted me to the conflict.
Regardless, the clients on other computers and devices found the server just fine.
There are two separate VNC Connect components, the server and the viewer. You install the server on any PC you want to control, and install the viewer on any PC or device from which you want to control said PCs. Though the client is referred to as a viewer, you still have control of the target PC.
VNC Connect can control Windows, macOS, Linux, and Raspberry Pi computers, and you can connect from any of those operating systems, as well as Android and iOS devices. The $3.39 per month per computer only applies to computers that you will be controlling, and any number of users may access the computer from any number of devices. The client is a free download.
There’s also a helpdesk version for IT types at $17 a month, as well as an enterprise product with centralized management, etc. for $4.82. per PC, per month. An annual plan is required for all the quoted prices.
VNC Connect, like most paid remote-desktop services, supports file transfers, remote printing, and chat. Uniquely, it also supports direct PC-to-PC (IP address to IP address) and portal-based communications. In the latter case, at least the initial communications go through the RealVNC server. After a connection has been established, and IP addresses logged, traffic takes the shortest route—i.e., if the two computers are on the same local network, data stays on said network.
VNC Connect: Performance
VNC Connect’s performance, of course, depends on the speed of your LAN and/or broadband. Performance will also vary on the type of connection—direct or through the RealVPN web portal. In my tests, I found the program every bit as quick as its rivals.
VNC Connect: Bottom line
If you need both direct and portal-based connections, want to support a number of users, and the free solutions won’t do, then VNC Connect is definitely worth a look-see. It’s by far the most affordable of the pay-to-play solutions.
Jon Jacobi is a musician, former x86/6800 programmer, and long-time computer enthusiast. He writes reviews on TVs, SSDs, dash cams, remote access software, Bluetooth speakers, and sundry other consumer-tech hardware and software.