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Are you a tech support person on the go? Maybe you just want to be able to set up a download on your home computer while you’re away. There are any number of reasons why you might want to use your Android device for Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) access to a Windows computer. If you’ve got an Android phone or tablet, and can set up Remote Desktop Protocol access on your Windows computer, you will find at least one good RDP client for you here. If you’re looking for something for your iPad, James Bruce writes it up well in The Best Free Remote Desktop Apps for Your iPad The Best Free Remote Desktop Apps for Your iPad The Best Free Remote Desktop Apps for Your iPad If like me, you often find yourself in the position of official technical support for your family and friends, you'll know oh too well the pain of trying to explain something over the phone. The... Read More .

Before we go any further, we should clarify that these clients do require a Windows computer to be set up with Remote Desktop Connection enabled. There are other ways to remotely connect to, and control, your desktop. Often they use an intermediary service like LogMeIn or one of these12 Excellent, Free Screen Sharing & Remote Access Tools You Haven’t Heard Of Yet 12 Excellent, Free Screen Sharing & Remote Access Tools You Haven't Heard Of Yet 12 Excellent, Free Screen Sharing & Remote Access Tools You Haven't Heard Of Yet Are you constantly being asked for computer help? Or perhaps you’re the one doing the asking. Either way, seeing and controlling screens remotely can save time and confusion on both ends. Remote access programs aren’t... Read More . There are also open source alternatives, most of them based on the Real VNC source. We’re not looking into these options today, as the intent is to keep the amount of work you have to do to a minimum and use what Windows has already given you for free. Keep in mind, not all versions of Windows support RDC (Remote Desktop Connection), but most of them do. If you’d like to learn more about RDC, I suggest you start with the Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection: FAQ. (Please note that some items in the following screenshots are blurred out for privacy and security reasons.)

Microsoft Remote Desktop – Free

The Features

Microsoft’s Remote Desktop app is as bare bones an RDP app as you can get. You can see in the screenshots that there aren’t any excessive options here. Create a connection profile, search for a connection profile, and connect to a computer. That’s about it. For a little more on this app in its Android and iOS incarnations, flip to Mark O’Neill’s quick read, “Microsoft Launches Remote Desktop For iOS & Android Microsoft Launches Remote Desktop For iOS & Android Microsoft Launches Remote Desktop For iOS & Android Microsoft have released a Remote Desktop app for iOS and Android. This neat little app brings the world of Windows to your tablets and phones, regardless of platform. Read More “.


There isn’t the option to change experience settings such as Show Remote Desktop or Themes. Being able to use or not use those options gives you control over the quality of the desktop experience and the bandwidth used for the connection. Microsoft says that they have, “High quality video and sound streaming with improved compression and bandwidth usage.” It isn’t clear exactly what that means, however having the ability to control what is brought back to your Android would be preferable.

Connecting to the Remote Computer

If you don’t put in a password when you create the connection profile, you get the standard desktop window asking for your password. Since the window is tiny and the screen controls awkward, this is a real drawback. The little compass rose control is the only way to enlarge or shrink your screen. No Android finger gestures. Any movement of the screen from left to right, or top to bottom, must originate in the compass rose. Terribly awkward. the keyboard is difficult to use as well. This is not the app that it could be. Download and use at your own risk.



2X Client RDP – Free

The Features

2X’s start-up screen is very simple, and intuitive. Your choices are to initiate a connection that you’ve already created, add a new connection, or go into the application settings. If you are creating a new connection, 2X gives you a few options – one is a Standard RDP connection, and two that use 2X’s servers and are fee-based services. These services might be something that you would consider if you require functions and security that an ordinary RDP connection doesn’t have.


NOTE: Do NOT save your password into your RDP profile. It would be very painful if you lost your Android, someone else found it and now had access to your computer or server.

Connecting to the Remote Computer

Once the connection is set up and saved, all you have to do is click on the connection, enter your password, and you’ll be connected to your Windows computer. This is where the RDP apps start to really differ. How do they let you interact with the remote computer? The mouse feature in 2X is very simple to use, the keyboard mimics a Windows keyboard very well, and the client supports standard Android finger gestures for manipulating the screen. You can stretch, pinch, and tap on icons to start programs. It is very intuitive and uncluttered. It also has all the experience settings that most people would want, such as Color Depth, Sound Options and whether this is a console session or not.


Ericom AccessToGo RDP – Free

The Features

AccessToGo has the most features of the RDP apps tested. Not only can you create standard RDP connections, you can also create connections to VMWare View, which is great if your a system administrator running virtualized servers. Ericom also offers the Blaze RDP Server that you can install on your desktop, for faster RDP connections. You have to request a quote for the Blaze RDP server, so it is probably more for use in the business environment. If you are using VMWare at work, you can also create VMWare View connections on the free app as well. Very handy for the server administrator types.


Connecting to the Remote Computer

Because AccessToGo automatically adjusts the size of the desktop to your Android devices screen, you’re able to use the standard Window’s log on dialogue much more easily than with Microsoft’s RDP app. The client also supports standard Android finger gestures for re-sizing the screen, selecting files, and tapping to click. If that’s not enough for you, you can switch to using your finger to control the cursor, using an onscreen mouse with several different controls, and a top bar with special key controls. Whatever way you like to work with your remote desktop, this app has it.


The Takeaway

For a full set of features, ease of use, and server administrator level control, Ericom AccessToGo RDP is the app to get. If you just need something to logon to the home or small business computer remotely, then 2X RDP is your choice. If you don’t like yourself and prefer to do everything the hard way, then you’ll be contentedly miserable with Microsoft’s RDP app.

Do you use any of these RDP apps? If you do, what do you like or dislike about them? Is there another RDP Android app that you prefer? We’d love to hear about it in the comments and why you like it! Do you think these reviews are off-base? Let us know about that too! We’re all in this thing called life together. Let’s help each other out.

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