Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
LogMeIn Ignition for iPhone
This app from LogMeIn provides remote access to your home or work computer.
- Simple user control, easy to set up, desktop response is usually good
- Expensive, poor performance at high resolutions, insufficient for video
LogMeIn's Ignition for iPhone has a relatively steep asking price, but it does deliver a usable desktop monitoring solution.
Price$ 36.99 (AUD)
Apple and Boxee have both brought remote control capabilities to the iPhone for their respective media centre applications, but LogMeIn has gone one step further with Ignition for iPhone. It provides basic remote access for Macs and PCs via the iPhone. It has some big limitations, but it is a functional desktop monitoring solution for when you're on the go.
Ignition for iPhone is the latest addition to the wide range of LogMeIn remote access solutions for Macs and PCs. These range from free desktop monitoring to fully fledged monitoring and diagnostics for IT professionals. The iPhone app doesn't offer much more than LogMeIn Free, so you won't need to fork out extra for an application on the host computer.
LogMeIn makes use of familiar iPhone controls to ease you into the app. Pinching the screen zooms in or out, and the app automatically reorients to suit landscape or portrait mode. By default, Ignition for iPhone sets its "scroll mode" to the "screen moves" setting; this means that the cursor remains static in the centre of the screen, and you move the desktop itself. The scroll mode can be changed so that the mouse moves; this proved to be an unintuitive control method as it uses a standard up-down axis, rather than the inverted axis used on the iPhone. The default scroll mode can take some time to get used to, but it is easier to use on high-resolution desktops.
Ignition for iPhone offers full mouse support, using the same multi-touch gestures available on the Apple MacBook Pro, including a double finger tap for right click and double finger slide for scrolling within a window. The app occasionally confused our pinching and scrolling gestures if we weren't precise, but otherwise it proved to be a natural control method for both MacOS X and Windows.
Unfortunately, the iPhone's hardware restrictions do come into play when using LogMeIn's Ignition for iPhone. We found the app became slower when using high display resolutions, and were warned over insufficient memory when accessing a computer running at a 1680x1050 resolution. LogMeIn has thankfully included a quick way to change display resolutions within the settings menu, increasing performance without having to access the control panel.
The quality of the Internet connection played a surprisingly small part in the overall performance of LogMeIn Ignition for iPhone. Over both 3G cellular and Wi-Fi networks, the app managed bearable speeds when navigating the desktop and interacting with applications. We even managed to browse the Internet with surprising speed, pages often loading faster on the iPhone than when using the phone's own Safari Web browser over 3G. Videos and games are, predictably, out of the question (though a quick stint on Empire: Total War was fun if jittery).
Provided you don't expect smooth transitions between applications or fluid animations, LogMeIn Ignition will be sufficient for desktop monitoring and some light manipulation of your home (or work) PC.
Casual users are likely to be turned away by the relatively high price tag of LogMeIn Ignition for iPhone, but the monitoring capability it does provide will prove sufficient for basic tasks.
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