25
Nov
teamviewer-logo
Last Updated: July 24th, 2011

Yesterday, TeamViewer unleashed its beta app for Android on the world via their website and, boy, let me tell you, it is awesome with a capital "a." Of all the VNC viewers I've used on Android, this is the by far the best. Let's dive in a little bit and I'll show you why.

After you install and run the TeamViewer Android application, you'll be confronted by this screen:

snap20101124_231646

So, at this point, it's fairly obvious you'll need a computer running the desktop software to go any further. In order for your Android device to play nicely with your computer, you'll need the version 6 beta of the desktop client, which you can grab here. I took the liberty of installing it on my own computer as well as convincing one of my fellow Android Police editors to run it on his computer. Here's what it looks like on the desktop:

ScreenClip

You may have noticed that you don't actually need to install anything on the host computer. This is absolutely perfect if you just want to solve a quick issue, get in, and get out. I can't stress enough how awesome that is. The install option is good for when you plan on revisiting a computer more than just once and would like to set up a permanent access solution but, for our purposes, the "Run" option will do just fine.

Upon running the server software, you get this:

 screen [2]

It generates a unique ID and random password for you to give to the person who is going to take control of your computer. This means that, after the tech support is over, you don't have to worry about a malicious IT guy or blog visitor (if you're stupid enough to post this stuff on the web) deleting all your stuff. You can even regenerate a password at any time if the situation arises:

screen

Now, let's assume that one of the writers on the Android Police team was foolish enough to hand the reigns of his computer (sorry, Nate). This is what it would look like if I were to skulk around his computer and started messing with stuff:

snap20101124_231931 snap20101124_231937 snap20101124_231941

snap20101124_231951 snap20101124_232008 snap20101124_232014

snap20101124_232437

It looks good and lets me do pretty much anything I want, including restarting the computer at will. The helpful tips popup displays all the app's features and tricks, and I found that they worked much better than what  you might have expected from a free app. I know, the pictures don't really do it justice, but the experience is incredibly smooth, even over a 3G connection. It chugged along as if I sitting right in front of the computer. The way the screen pans with the mouse is really awesome, in my opinion, and is easily the best of any VNC app I've used in my time on Android (trumping both Remote VNC and LogMeIn Ignition).

It isn't perfect, though. The one glaring bug that I ran into was entering text. First and foremost, the keyboard completely blocks the text field if said field is at the bottom of the screen. Secondly, it has this one weird, weird issue:

snap20101124_232216

However, it's fine when word prediction is turned off:

snap20101124_232726

Despite its incredibly odd issues with word prediction, this is definitely my favorite VNC app. For one, it's free to use; for another, my testing proved it to be much smoother and more naturally designed than its alternatives. I'm a huge fan of TeamViewer and I intend to use this app quite a bit to fix my family members' computers from now on. (Sorry, Grandma, but gas is expensive.) Not only is the app itself awesome, but the fact that you don't have to actually install a darn thing on the host computer to use it just pushes it over the top. I really, really like this set up and, no doubt, will be getting a lot of mileage out of it. Right now, we're looking at a rating of 9/10. Fix that keyboard issue and it's a solid 10 in my book. For a free app, it doesn't get much better than this, so go ahead and try it (you can download it here). All you've got to lose is that void in your life that can only be filled by an amazing VNC client for Android.

Brad Ganley
An Android power user, Brad consumes most of his free time with unhealthy amounts of cell phones and cell phone related things when he isn't playing with his son. Brad is also an avid movie-watcher and tea-drinker.
  • TareX

    Favorited for when I activate my Samsung Intercept this weekend :D

  • jim
  • http://Andsomethingyoudidn'tmentionisthatitsupportsbothWindows,MacandLinuxandthere'sappsforbothiPhone,iPadadAndroidandinseverallanguagestoo. Peter

    Nice review of the best VNC software available.

    All your Android screenshots are in portrait mode, but I think you should also show it supports landscape mode like shown in this review:
    http://lifehacker.com/5698232/teamviewer-arrives-on-android-for-small+screen-remove-control-and-tech-support

    You mention that TeamViewer is free, but it should be noted that it's only free for non-commercial (private) use. For commercial use you have to buy a license to use it legally.

    And something you didn't mention is that it supports both Windows, Mac and Linux and there's apps for both iPhone, iPad ad Android and in several languages too.

    TeamViewer is by far my favorite VNC software too. So easy to use, just plug and play. And you can install a host version always running in the background for servers etc.
    And store a list of clients and partners online with ID's and passwords, so you can just click the computer name to log in.

  • Richard F

    I downloaded the app and it works great connected to a win xp host. Great quality. I tried however to connect to my ubuntu 9.10 machine and it says that I need the beta 6. This software has not been updated yet to version 6 for ubuntu so it cannot connect. Hope that is comes out soon.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6COyyC2-fQ Peter

    You can also use the volume buttons to zoom in and out, as you can see in this YouTube review.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6COyyC2-fQ

  • http://www.zomgitscj.com Aatif

    Nice. Tried it out but its aeons away from the smoothness of LogMeIn Ignition.

  • David

    Off-topic, I know, but I have to ask; what theme and keyboard is that? It looks so purdy!

    On-topic: I'll definitely be giving this a try :)

    • Brad Ganley

      Ultra Keyboard with the v3 skin.

  • niematunikogo

    shame there is no v6 for linux :/

    or is there? (i've seen only v.5 for linux, but no v.5 for android)

  • gary

    great reveiew! thanks

    can anyone tell me what size screen on the mobile phone is optimal for this, will a 3" screen do or does it have to be bigger?

  • andy of manila PH

    Nice.been using the pc version back in 2008.its cool i can use my android w my fave remote access tool for my tech support duties now.

  • wolfkin

    I like TeamViewer for many reasons
    1) using Ninite.com or PortableApps.com it's really easy to carry around and/or install on a computer I may have to do tech support for
    2) it's VERY easy to set up. If my Dad is having trouble I can explain to him how to open up TeamViewer and then read me the password
    3) because of the ease of setup I can install this on any machine I touch and I don't have to explain to people that I can get into their machines anytime I want. I can show them the password and explain that noone gets in without it.

    TeamViewer is the best thing since Mikogo and while Mikogo worked not having to register is awesome.

  • http://xzylacorp.com mike

    Dont buy this software they will charge you and then not allow you to user tour software unless u pay them more money. I paid for version 6 and they auto pushed TV7 to my computers through updates,, then told me i had to pay another $800 to use the software. I told them i didn't want V7 i just want to use V6 the one i paid for and they refused. Dont buy this software they will block your computers and extort more money from you.

  • Eugene S

    There is one very easy solution to all this - free Ammyy Admin
    http://www.ammyy.com

    It doesn't require installation or specific config. It works behind gateways NAT without port mapping as well as within one LAN.

    Good alternative though!