Review: LogMeIn Ignition for Android

LogMeIn Ignition is a remote desktop program that allows users to access their computer, anywhere in the world, from a smartphone. The Android version has only been available for a short time, and I have been giving it a spin to see how it compares to the previously released iPhone version. This review should make it clear that Android is a good platform for remote control software like LogMeIn.

LogMeIn turns the Android phone into a window into a remote Windows or Mac computer. The smartphone takes total control over the remote computer, allowing complete operation as if sitting in front of the computer.

When the app is fired up on the Android phone, a login screen is presented to get into the LogMeIn server. Once inside, a list of the user’s computers that can be controlled is presented. Tap the computer name in the list and then a login screen for that computer is presented. Once the credentials are verified the remote desktop appears in just a few seconds.

The LogMeIn phone interface is designed to be operated totally via touch, and two methods of mousing around the screen are available. The default is to operate the cursor by sliding the remote computer’s display around on the phone screen until the desired control is positioned under the fixed cursor. Optionally you can configure LogMeIn to allow sliding the cursor around on a fixed desktop, similar to mousing on a computer. Strangely, the fixed cursor method is easier to work with, although it takes a while to get used to moving the desktop instead of the cursor.

The remote desktop first appears on the phone screen as a tiny overview of the entire remote computer desktop. Zooming in is as easy as pinching and zooming. LogMeIn also has a zoom bar that sits on the left of the screen when invoked and is a really fast way to zoom in and out on the remote screen. Mouse clicks are executed with simple taps on the screen, and an icon on the bar at the bottom of the screen toggles between left and right mouse clicks.

I have used LogMeIn Ignition on my EVO 4G, and it runs really fast on either 4G or Wi-Fi connections. Sessions conducted over 3G are not as smooth, due to limited bandwidth, but are acceptable for short remote sessions as needed.

At $29.99, the program is expensive for personal use, but support personnel looking for a good way to provide remote support for work may find it a bargain. I have spoken to a couple of support folks, one in IT support and the other in help desk support, and both of their companies have them using the iPhone strictly because LogMeIn only ran on that phone. The options just got a lot more open for these folks with Android getting this version of LogMeIn.

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): Are You Empowering Your Mobile Work Force?