LogMeIn is simply a great service. A hassle free Remote Desktop service which is ideal for computer support or just plain remote management of PCs over the internet. In the majority of cases no NAT configuration is required as the software uses ports 80 and 443 which are typically open anyway, but if you have a problem there are guides in their support section.
I’ve been using the LogMeIn iPad App for about a month now, at first I was sceptical how well it could work on a touch-screen based device, but more so that the touching is done by big, sometimes chubby, fingers, not a nice accurate stylus tip!
But, unsurprisingly, the iPad App is excellent to use, and is truly a viable option for connecting up to remote machines and getting tasks done. You begin by logging into the App, at which point you are presented with a list of your computers, you can hide off-line ones, or display them all. The App fully supports the remote wakeup of computers just like the web interface does.
When selecting a computer, you are presented with three options – Remote Control, Access Local Files, or Information.
Local Files lets you use your iPad as a file repository and transfer files between remote computers, or just bring them down to your iPad for viewing/editing.
Selecting Remote Control, you connect to the machine and are presented with the login window. Enter your login credentials and then press login.
Once connected there is a handy Hints screen that shows you the commands and gestures that make using the LogMeIn iPad App much easier, for example, move 2 fingers together up and down to scroll, 2 finger taps are right-clicks and so on. After a while these started coming naturally and made working much faster. Once you are comfortable with the tips you can switch them off to stop them appearing at every login.
So the system is very clever. If you scroll around with your finger, you are moving the desktop. Touch and scroll the mouse image, underneath the mouse pointer, and you are moving the mouse. Left click on the mouse image to left click, right-click to.. well you get it. So if I want to click on the Start button, I scroll the window up to make room at the bottom, then ‘grab’ the mouse and move it down to to hover over the start button.
Running programs is just like you would on the LogMeIn web interface, there is an on-screen keyboard that you can pull up when needed. Its very similar to the one on the iPad itself, and easy to use.
Its handy if you can set the computers resolution 1024 x 768 which natively matches the iPad, however larger resolutions are supported and you can either pan around as needed, or Zoom out to fit to screen.
I’ve had to do a number of support jobs using this tool now, from restarting services, to restoring toolbars to checking on backup jobs being run and they are all straight forward to do on the iPad and saved me firing up my laptop every time.
Obviously you need a decent connection to connect using LogMeIn, the majority of the time I’m on WiFi which works extremely well with no noticeable lag, and I have on occasion pulled over in my car and logged in to perform some tasks using the iPad’s built in 3G connection. It was less responsive but worked and let me fix an urgent problem that I otherwise couldn’t of until I reached the office.
The App also works on an iPhone, and I tried it out as pert of this review. However I have to say I will only be using this in emergencies as it’s extremely difficult to use on the much smaller display. Having said that LogMeIn have recognised the difference of a small screen device and altered the functionality accordingly which is nice to see. The mouse icon remain locked to the middle of the screen, and you pan and zoom the desktop behind it until the mouse is ‘over’ what you want to click. Then either left or right click as normal to interact with the desktop. It may sound weird but its actually a clever solution and if you have no alternative will get you out of a jam. Once you’ve bought the App you can have it on both devices so you might as well install it on your iPhone and get familiar with it.
LogMeIn Ignition for iPhone / iPad is available on iTunes for £20.99