For those looking for a remote desktop access solution that doesn’t
involve any fancy configuration know-how, TeamViewer is one of the more
interesting solutions out there today. Not only is the software available for
multiple platforms, such as Windows, OS X, and Linux, but TeamViewer
is essentially free for use in non-commercial settings, or for a reasonable, one-time purchase
license fees
when used in a for-profit business. With Windows 8.1 and
Windows RT tablets becoming all the rage, TeamViewer is now available in a
tablet-friendly user interface edition, simply called TeamViewer Touch.

Product Information

  • Title: TeamViewer
  • Company: TeamViewer
  • Supported OS: Windows 8, 8.1 and RT

TeamViewer Touch

This rather welcome addition to the many versions available can be
acquired via the Windows Store for free. After a quick download and
installation, you will quickly find out that, despite being a cut-down version
of the desktop counterpart, TeamViewer Touch is still quite functional. You can
either connect to a random remote session by providing the destination
machine’s unique TeamViewer ID number and passcode, or you can log into your
TeamViewer account and select a remote machine from a list of machines you’ve

All the normal functions for operation, such as the on screen keyboard,
CTRL+ALT+DEL combo button (for help logging into Windows) and disconnect
button, are tucked away while a session is live on-screen, thus leaving your
entire tablet screen free to access the remote session with virtually no
obstruction. If you need to call up the additional functions, you simply click
or tap the small blue bar with the session ID number inside. Basic finger
gestures are supported as well, such as pinch to zoom, two finger drag to
scroll and tap and hold to right click.

I had no problems getting around on my Linux desktop using the tablet.

Remote connections

In my test, I opted to connect to a remote Elementary OS Linux desktop and see how that
fared in terms of navigability and refresh speed. And, as predicted, I was able
to select items, drag objects, and input commands using my keyboard. Connection
quality was quite variable, taking up to a minute for my session to switch to a
high-color type mode, thus eliminating the rather messy looking low-color
display. Sometimes, if I would perform several functions at once, like
minimizing or maximizing windows, a partial “ghost” of what the
object looked like before would remain on screen for a brief moment. This is
likely due to less than satisfactory connection issues I was experiencing at
the time.

When it comes to the app and what it sets out to do, I feel that
TeamViewer Touch does a rather admirable job at transposing a tablet-style
interface for Windows 8 hosts for finger-friendly usage. That being said, there
are a few notable limitations that should be mentioned, as the app isn’t cut
down for size without reason.

For starters, you can connect to other sessions, but not set yourself up
as a host without grabbing the desktop version of TeamViewer first. Sadly, if
you are running on Windows RT, you are plain out of luck, since the desktop
release of TeamViewer is only available for x86-based Windows 8. Also,
TeamViewer uses their own servers to act as a middle-man between systems and
isn’t a true end-to-end direct connection, thus some additional lag and added
sluggish behavior may occur. For casual usage, this typically isn’t a concern.
But if you need a snappier experience, you might wish to opt for TightVNC
or RDP instead.

Bottom line

Still, despite these downsides, they tend to pose only minor
inconveniences. The touch interface is simple, stays mostly out of the way
while you work remotely and allows for easy navigation without the need for a
physical keyboard and mouse. If you find yourself using a tablet often and like
to administrate systems remotely, then TeamViewer Touch is definitely worth
checking out, especially since it’s free to use. Do you have a favorite remote
access product for tablets or otherwise that you would like to recommend? Leave
a note in the comments section.