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Splashtop Review

9.5Performance, Compatibility & Security
8.9Interface & Usability
8.2Control & Sharing Tools
7.3Value
8.5Overall Rating
iPad Remote Access Screenshots
Official Splashtop iPhone and iPad Screenshots

Overview

Splashtop Remote is a remote desktop product—available in free and premium versions—geared toward users who want to stream games, videos and other content from their computers to their mobile devices. To further enhance the gaming experience, the premium iPad version of Splashtop Remote includes a utility allowing you to configure your iPad as a game controller, eliminating tedious keyboard shortcuts and imprecise trackpad input. In addition, Splashtop Remote allows you to configure the way in which it displays graphics from the remote computer; you can set the display to "Sharp" to see graphics in high detail or change it to "Smooth" for shorter response times. Splashtop and TeamViewer are the only remote access applications that we reviewed that support Blackberry. The majority of users complain of SplashTop application crashes and lack of support on Blackberry devices. TeamViewer recently released a fully supported and well received version for BlackBerry.

Products and Platforms

Although Splashtop Remote is primarily marketed to mobile device users—it supports iOS, Android, Kindle and BlackBerry devices—it can also allow you to control a computer remotely from another computer. To access a remote computer from any location, you'll need to purchase the Anywhere Access Pack for a small monthly fee. The ability to use your iPad as a game controller is also a paid service. Splashtop Remote is ideal for the home user who wants to control his computer from his couch, but professional solutions are also available for business users. These packages include features such as group management and Active Directory security.

Splashtop Remote works with the following mobile devices:

  • Android devices with ARMv7 processors or better
  • iPad, iPhone 3GS or newer, iPod Touch 3rd Generation or newer
  • Windows RT tablets
  • Windows phones
  • BlackBerry devices

Splashtop Remote works with the following operating systems:

  • Android 2.2 and newer
  • iOS 4.0 and newer
  • Windows 7 and newer
  • Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 and newer
  • Windows Phone 8 and newer
  • BlackBerry OS

Review

Although Splashtop Remote is nearly flawless when streaming high-resolution video from a computer to a mobile device, it doesn't always perform as well with games. When you launch a game on a Windows or Mac computer, the screen resolution often changes for performance or aesthetic reasons. When using the Splashtop Remote client, screen resolution changes sometimes don't work as intended and part of the game becomes unviewable. In addition, games requiring fast reaction times -- such as first-person shooters -- may not always stream quickly enough to the remote device to suit the tastes of an advanced player. The delay is less noticeable with role-playing and strategy games.

Splashtop Remote also does not support sharing a connection with multiple users as multiple simultaneous connections are not allowed. In 2012, encryption was added to Splashtop Remote, based on SSL and AES. The Splashtop Remote interface features a helpful guide that appears when you connect to a remote computer using a touch-based device. The interface features gesture-based shortcuts, such as the ability to drag with three fingers to scroll across the screen.

On the downside, Splashtop seemed to slow down our remote PCs more than the other apps we tested. Also, in vertical/portrait mode the screen didn't scale for our Android phone test. Additionally, you can't zoom on some applications. Finally, the set up was a bit confusing to some folks, but we think it is simply their particular download interface for the mobile and desktop software that trips people up.

The Bottom Line

If you are willing to put up with less-than-stellar gaming performance at times and don't want to be tethered to your desk when playing games, you're likely to love Splashtop Remote. Its intuitive gesture-based controls make a tablet's touch interface feel completely natural during gaming. Macs also have notoriously poor support from peripheral manufacturers, and if you've had trouble finding a gamepad that works with your Mac, Splashtop Remote may prove a capable replacement. Splashtop also moves smoothly from the home to most business environments with its robust security, multi-user deployment and Active Directory support. With many remote desktop products failing to take Active Directory into account, Splashtop Remote is an exception that's surprisingly affordable. However, we did find some performance and user interface issues.