- Editor's Rating
Do you love your smartphone, but wish it could do just a bit more? What if your phone could do almost everything your office or home PC can do? With LogMeIn Ignition, it can.
With this service, you can remotely control your office or home PC from anywhere in the world.
There are a number of remote access apps available for the Android OS, many of which cost less than LogMeIn Ignition. Just keep in mind, a big part of what you’re buying with this app is ease of use.
Getting set up is as simple as it can be. You sign up for a free subscription from LogMeIn.com, install an app on your desktop and smartphone, put you user name and password into both apps, and you’re in business.
Some of its rivals are going to require you to tinker with some fairly obscure settings on your router, and probably aren’t as secure.
LogMeIn Ignition turns your Android OS-based smartphone’s screen into the monitor for the remote PC. The phone’s on-screen keyboard acts as the PC’s keyboard.
How useful you find this app depends on how large your device’s screen is. The bigger the screen, the easier it is to get things done because you have to do a lot less scrolling around. It really works best on something like a 4.0-inch WVGA display, and it’s wonderful on the Dell Streak’s 5-inch screen.
Still, even on the largest smartphone screen you’re going to have to do a certain amount of scrolling around and zooming in and out to view what’s being displayed on a large PC monitor.
Over a Wi-Fi or good 3G connection, your phone’s screen displays what’s on the PC’s screen instantaneously. If you have a slow Internet connection, you might get some lag. In this situation, you can temporarily reduce the number of colors displayed on the remote monitor, or its screen resolution. This will reduce the bandwidth required. It also cuts down on how much scrolling around is required.
If your Android OS-based device has a physical keyboard, or you like the on-screen keyboard on your phone, you’ll find this app quite useful. I’ve used it to enter quite a bit of text, such as emails and corrections to documents people want me to look at.
If I want to do serious work, I hook up a Bluetooth keyboard through a handy app called BlueInput. That’s how I wrote much of this review.
This software doesn’t forget about the extra keys you need; it offers Control and Alt keys, plus Windows and Menu keys, and a even a full set of Functions keys. In addition, there are special keys just for Control-Alt-Delete and Alt-Tab. These are available on-screen, even when you’re using a physical keyboard.
LogMeIn Ignition gives you a virtual mouse, of course; you really can’t control a PC without one. It even gives you two options for how this works.
In one option, instead of touching the screen wherever you want to move the cursor, the cursor stays in the middle of the screen, and you move the display around. I know that sounds confusing, but it can become second nature once you get used it.
In the second option, the touchscreen acts a bit like a trackpad for the cursor. In order to let you move the cursor toward items that are off the current display, the contents of the screen move in the opposite direction the cursor is moving.
To right-click, you tap on an on-screen button that switches the cursor to this mode. Be careful, as you have to manually switch it back.
You’ll notice when I was describing the features of LogMeIn Ignition I didn’t say that the smartphones speakers act like the PC’s speakers — they don’t. This app has no support for sound.
While sound would have been a nice bonus, its absence don’t seem critical, at least not to me. This app is mostly about helping you get work done, not entertainment.
I do a lot of traveling, and I wouldn’t dream of leaving home without LogMeIn Ignition. Years ago, I used to carry a laptop with me almost everywhere in case something came up at the office that I had to deal with. Not any more. I always have my smartphone with me, and thanks to LogMeIn can can deal with small problems that come up, whether it’s a document I need to look over right now or mailing a file to someone who needs it immediately.
At $29.99 this isn’t a cheap app. But it can pay for itself in saving you a lot of hassle. And most businesspeople could make a good argument why their company should by this app for them.
And at least you don’t have to shell out a monthly fee to use it. The basic version of this service is free, and that’s all you need for your smartphone. The free desktop app works with Mac OS X and Windows PCs.
You can find LogMeIn Ignition in the Android Market.