Pros: Smooth gesture controls; Low overall cost; Remote access worked well
Cons: Longer setup process; Screen refresh issues; No Android tablet version yet
Verdict: LogMeIn Ignition is an affordable alternative to GoToMyPC that lets you stream audio as well as video, but its overall performance isn't as smooth.
Now that smart phones and tablets are becoming more powerful and as ubiquitous as notebooks, it stands to reason that consumers would rather take just those smaller devices on the road. LogMeIn Ignition is a highly flexible remote-access app that runs on Android smart phones as well as on the iPad and iPhone. But is this $30 app a good deal?
We tested LogMeIn Ignition on the iPad and the Samsung Epic 4G; a version of the app for Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" tablets such as the Motorola Xoom is expected soon. LogMeIn is a bit more complex than GoToMyPC; you have to go through a few more setup screens. When you log in using the Ignition app, you first sign into your account, then enter the username and password for the remote computer. This adds an extra step for security, but it's not that intuitive and it adds extra time. The entire process took about two minutes.
LogMeIn Ignition works a shade slower than GoToMyPC for iPad. On the iPad, there was a slight delay in connecting and in the screen refresh time, both when using the same 3G hotspot network and over Wi-Fi. Yet, we typed a Word document without any trouble. Interestingly, Ignition was blazing fast on the Android-powered Epic 4G, .
Gesturing on the iPad and Android versions both worked well, even for the two-finger scrolling on a website and for selecting text by pressing and dragging. By comparison, gestures on GoToMyPC's iPad app were less reliable.
On Android, LogMeIn Ignition offers some interesting extra perks. Like Splashtop Remote, the app lets you stream audio and video. Unfortunately, this did not work too well on a Samsung Epic 4G; the audio played for a while, then stuttered and stopped. LogMeIn told us they are working on the issue. We did play a YouTube video of a Charlie Sheen interview and the video looked reasonably smooth (for a smart phone), but the audio sounded too digital and even stuttered. Still, that's better than GoToMyPC's app, which wouldn't play audio at all.
Note that when you connect with an Android phone, the resolution changes on your remote computer to only 800 x 600. In a few cases, the host screen took on a mirroring effect where the top of the screen looked like a double image. When we logged out and back in, the problem went away.
On top of the $30 app, if you want to stream music from your host computer, you'll need to sign up for LogMeIn Pro2, which costs $70 per computer per year. However, you can also install LogMeIn Free and use the apps only for remote viewing, not audio. Once you do, you can continue to use the Ignition app without paying any monthly fees. By comparison, GoToMyPC requires that you use a paid version of the software on your host computer for $10 per month.
LogMeIn Ignition has a lot going for it. It works with both iOS and Android devices, gestures were smooth, and it's less expensive over the long haul. However, we slightly prefer GoToMyPC client for iPad only because the interface is better and more stable and it takes fewer steps to connect. That's the important feature when you're in a pinch.