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VNC Viewer - the Best App Ever...this week

Review by Michael Oryl on Saturday February 18, 2012.

software reviews · software news · michael oryl

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My choice for Best App Ever this week is VNC Viewer - an amazing app from RealVNC that gives you remote control access to Windows, Mac, and Linux computers from an Android or iOS powered device.

The application, which is available for $9.99 from the Android Market and iTunes App Store, is pretty easy to configure and very simple to use. You merely enter the hostname or IP address of your remote VNCServer-equipped computers, enter the password when prompted, and start using the remote machine almost as if you were there.

The hardest part, in fact, is getting VNC running on your desktop or server in the first place and finding out its IP address or hostname (and possible firewall issues) - but that's well beyond the scope of this article.

Once connected to the VNC "server" of your choice, you can use a fingertip on your smartphone or tablet's touchscreen to move your PC's mouse pointer around the screen. A two-finger pinch or stretch gesture will zoom out or in, and the screen will pan about as necessary to keep the mouse pointer in view. Need to press a mouse button? Simple. You just tap on the screen. A fast swipe gesture will even cause the mouse pointer to coast a bit on-screen. It's all very intuitive.

For more complex maneuvers, you can switch the app into mouse mode, which provides transparent, on-screen mouse buttons and a virtual scroll-wheel. Selecting text requires nothing more than a double-tap and a drag gesture, and if you are using the Enterprise version of VNC on the remote computer, any text you copy on your PC will be copied onto your phone's clipboard for pasting into other apps.

VNC Viewer also provides keyboard support, since you can't do much on a PC without a keyboard. You have access to on-screen buttons for special keys like control and F3, and can use your regular virtual keyboard of choice for entering words and numbers.

Make no mistake - this is not an application for everybody. But it is also hugely powerful in the right hands and in the right situation. I've used it many a time to grab a URL or to upload a needed file while I'm travelling. I've even done some remote server work with it.

I don't use it daily, but I'm very glad it's around when I need it.

"Best App Ever" is a feature on MobileBurn.com where we point out some of our favorite apps. They don't have to be new, but they will be applications that we actually use ourselves and truly like. If you have an idea for an app we should check out, contact us here.

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About the author

Michael Oryl
Michael is the Philadelphia based owner and former editor-in-chief of MobileBurn.com. You can follow him on Twitter as @MichaelOryl

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