There are times when you simply have to remote into a
machine while you’re on the go. That’s all fine and good when you have a laptop
available; but when all you have at your disposal is a smart phone or tablet,
the tools you choose can really make your day much easier.

In some instances, of course, you’re using a smart phone to
manage the desktop and no matter what application you use, it’s a challenge to
navigate. Some apps, however, are better than others. I have compiled a list of
five apps that work well for remote connections to desktops or servers. Each of
these apps works on the Android platform (though some do offer an IOS version)
and are free to use (with the exception of using TeamViewer for support
purposes).

Let’s dig in and see what these five apps have to offer.

This article is also available as a TechRepublic Screenshot Gallery.

Five Apps

1. TeamViewer

TeamViewer
is actually the one remote tool I use the most. In fact, I use it pretty much
all day. The Android version of the tool is one of the best in breed. Not only
does TeamViewer allow you to remotely manage a machine, you can transfer files
to and from your Android device. TeamViewer features: Multi-touch support,
friends list, automatic quality adjustment, gain access behind firewalls and
proxies, 256-bit AES security/1024-bit RSA key exchange, and more. This version
is for private use only. For using Team Viewer in a support environment, you’ll
need to purchase a license which isn’t cheap. For information on licensing,
check out the comparison
page.

2. Join.me

Join.me
is basically just a viewer, but even with this, you can easily walk a user
through troubleshooting an issue. This tool makes for a great training tool or
a remote meeting tool. The Join.me Android client features: Built-in chat, zoom
in and out, view meeting attendees, and view annotations made by others.
Although it’s a bit low on the feature set, it does work quite well and allows
you quick and painless access to view other’s machines. Use it for training or
meetings – either way, the Android Join.me solution makes for a solid remote
access tool.

3. Android VNC Viewer

Android
VNC Viewer
is a pure VNC tool; in other words, in order to gain access to a
remote machine with this app, you’ll need to have a VNC server running. That’s
not a problem, as there are plenty out there. And once you’ve managed to make
the connection, the app works like a champ. Android VNC Viewer features:
Import/export settings, save connection information, zoom control, keyboard and
mouse control, connect to any machine running a VNC server. The only caveat is
that you cannot drag the cursor around the desktop – you simply point to an
area and the cursor will appear.

4. 2X client RDP

2X client RDP
allows you to connect to any machine that supports RDP. The 2X client RDP app
supports Windows all the way up to Windows 8 and offers one of the more
seamless keyboard interactions you’ll find. Other features include: Unlimited
connections, SSL security, full screen mode, easy scrolling, sound integration
zoom support, two and three finger gesture support, gesture configuration, and
more. This particular app can be used on Android from version 1.6 and up – so
nearly any Android device out there can enjoy an RDP connection.

5. Remote Desktop Connection

Remote
Desktop Connection
allows you to connect to either a RDP- or a VNC-enabled
machine. This means you can connect to your Windows, Linux, or Mac machines
with ease. Remote Desktop Connection features: Bookmark manager, console mode,
RDP/NLA/TLS or automatic encryption mode, Touchpointer (cursor interacts with
gestures), customizable resolutions, tab for RDP and much more. Remote Desktop
Connect is open source and the source can be checked out from this Google Code
site
.

Bottom line

There are so many ways to connect to a machine remotely.
When you’re working from a mobile platform, it’s always best to have a tool
that will not only reliably make the connection, but make the process as simple
as possible. These five tools may not be ideal for everyone, but they will get
the job done and get it done easily.