With the right remote access app, you're free to use your tablet to tap into your full desktop interface from thousands of miles away, allowing you to leave that clunky laptop back home. GoToMyPC, backed by Citrix Systems, is one of the more popular solutions for this purpose, but is it worth $9.95 per month?
To use the GoToMyPC app on our tablet, we first had to create a GoToMyPC subscription. While we could try the app free for 30 days, we had to input our credit card information from the get-go. It was an inconvenience, but we were able to later reconfigure our account so that our card wouldn't get charged automatically once the 30 days were up.
Like other remote desktop solutions, GoToMyPC has a companion desktop app that we had to download to the PC or Mac we wanted to access. Once it was installed, we fired up the GoToMyPC app from our tablet to see our desktop. The app worked with our existing firewalls in place, and didn't require any special configuration. All we had to do was create an access code that we later matched on our tablet.
Inside the app, the screen was divided into two panels. The smaller, left-hand panel contained two labels: My Computers and Settings. Settings let us tweak the general settings of the app. My Computers listed all the systems we added to our account, and we could tap on each of these to launch the desktop.
The interface for GoToMyPC for iPad is rather spare. The app features a virtual mouse used to navigate the screen, and we could tap on the left and right buttons to register their respective clicks. An arrow at the top of the screen hides a pull-down panel with controls to disconnect the session, display arrow keys and a keyboard, modify preferences and quickly access a help guide for multitouch gestures.
GoToMyPC includes a bunch of gestures for navigation. The app let us use one finger to click, two fingers to right-click and a three-finger tap to toggle an onscreen keyboard, You can also tap-and-hold to drag items and drag two fingers within a window to scroll up and down.
We used GoToMyPC on our iPad 2 to access our work computer on our tablet over a Wi-Fi network. The screen refreshed rapidly, and we didn't experience any cross-hatching or stuttering on the display. We also appreciated how the app included multimonitor support, so we could view both displays on our work PC while accessing it remotely.
We do have some complaints about the app. Sometimes, we take our fingers off the surface of our tablet and redo certain gestures. The three-finger tap to hide gesture, which hides or shows the onscreen keyboard, was particularly difficult to execute.
Unfortunately, the app still hasn't integrated support for streaming audio since its last iteration--a feature that other competitors (like Splashtop Remote Desktop) include. When we streamed a 720p trailer for the movie "Drive," images were sharp, but the video jumped from frame to frame.
GoToMyPC is priced a little steep compared to other options. Users are charged $9.95/month or $99/year for a subscription. Given that other developers essentially offer the same remote desktop functionality for free, GoToMyPC doesn't seem like it's the best deal out there. However, this subscription fee does include 24-hour Global Customer Support.
As a remote desktop solution, GoToMyPC offers strong performance and ease of use. However, its stiff subscription fees are a turn-off, even if it's backed by one of the most popular and reliable remote access companies. You might want to try the free version of LogMeIn for the iPad first. And if you want the ability to stream audio and video, the cheaper Splashtop Remote Desktop ($19.99 one-time fee; $4.99 sale price) is a better bet.