Splashtop Client For Mac

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  5. Splashtop Desktop App

Splashtop Personal - Remote Desktop gives you high-performance remote access to your PC or Mac from your Windows tablet. Splashtop is the ONLY remote access product capable of delivering full audio and HD video streaming and even interactive 3D gaming. Use Mirroring360 to wirelessly mirror & record your Chromebook, iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows, and Mac screens to your PC or Mac without the need for hardware or cables. With new Mirroring360 Pro, you can also broadcast your computer screen to up to 40 participants and they can view on their devices with a simple web link.

From Splashtop:

Splashtop Personal - Remote Desktop for Windows Phone gives you high-performance remote access to your PC or Mac from your Windows Phone. Splashtop is the ONLY remote access product capable of delivering full audio and HD video streaming and even interactive 3D gaming. (Access across the Internet requires purchase of the optional Anywhere Access Pack.)

Optional Anywhere Access Pack (optional purchase from my.splashtop.com):

-Subscribe to Anywhere Access Pack to access your computer from across the Internet, via Splashtop's global network of secure, high-performance servers.

-Access reliably from anywhere across the Internet, over 3G/4G, across firewalls, etc.

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-Optimized streaming performance under varying network conditions over Wi-Fi and 3G/4G

-Fully secured using SSL with 256-bit AES encryption.

Features:

-Access your PC or Mac apps, games, multimedia content, and files over LAN, Wi-Fi, and 3G/4G from your Windows Phone.

-Enjoy high-definition videos and other multimedia content streamed at up to 30 frames per second from your remote computer.

-Access all of your programs and files with 100% compatibility, including PowerPoint, Keynote, Word, Excel, Outlook, Quicken, IE, Chrome, Safari, and all other PC/Mac applications.

-Keep your computer sleeping until you need it with Wake-on-LAN.

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Desktop

System Requirements

-Install Splashtop Streamer on your PC (Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP) or Mac (Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan). Download for free from www.splashtop.com

-A computer with dual-core CPU is strongly recommended for best performance

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License terms

-This app is free for non-commercial use only

-The purchase of this app includes license to access up to 5 computers

What do you need to know about free software?

Splashtop Client For Windows

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Splashtop has brought its Remote Desktop tool to Mac OS X. The software, which was released Wednesday in the Mac App Store, allows users to interactively control another computer over the Internet or a local network.

The Splashtop Remote Desktop Client relies on a server application—called Splashtop Streamer—that the user must first install and configure on the computers that they wish to access. The client software allows the user to connect to the desired computer and interact with it via mouse and keyboard. The remote desktop can be displayed in a window or run in fullscreen.

The underlying concept is obviously not new—existing VNC and RDP applications have offered similar functionality for years. The key advantage of Splashtop's implementation is performance, using a proprietary protocol to reduce latency and provide a more responsive user experience. It also has some advanced features that you don't get with VNC, such as the ability to relay audio from the remote computer to the client.

Splashtop says its software performs well enough to handle high-definition video and 3D computer games, so we decided to see for ourselves by putting it to work with some real-world testing. Connecting to a Windows environment from a Mac over a home network, I tried out a few games, watched a bit of video, surfed the Web, and did some software development.

I started by setting up the Streamer under Windows 7 on my desktop PC, which has 16GB of RAM and a six-core Intel i7 980X CPU. The Streamer was easy to install and required very little configuration—I simply had to provide the password that I wanted to use for remote login. You can also optionally set the port number and a few other options. When you close the status and configuration window, the server software leaves a little icon running in the system tray.

I installed the Splashtop client on my Mac Pro from the Mac App Store. The client software is simple and relatively easy to use. It has a native Cocoa user interface, but is adorned with classic Aqua-style blue pinstripes that give it a tacky retro look. It automatically detected my PC on the home network and displayed it in the list of available computers. When I hit the 'connect' button, it prompted me for a password and then showed me the desktop.

Splashtop Remote Desktop offers several different options for handling the screen resolution. It can automatically reduce the resolution on the server system when the user makes a connection so that the remote system fits comfortably in a window, or it can allow you to connect at the native resolution. It supports scrolling in cases where the remote desktop is larger than the client window. You can also toggle into fullscreen mode by clicking an icon that pops down from the top.

Doing basic operations through the client—like dragging a window across the desktop or scrolling down a page in the Web browser—were slightly smoother than with VNC and had a bit less tearing. It works well for day-to-day productivity tasks like Web browsing and word processing.

Splashtop's performance advantage became a lot more noticeable when I tested it with video. Unlike VNC, Splashtop doesn't turn video into a slideshow. I tested it mostly by playing WMV movies in VLC and watching videos of cats in the Web browser with Flash-based players. The actual video performance is good in the sense that there are no glitches or skipping, but the problem I had with it was poor color reproduction.

I don't know exactly what special sauce Splashtop uses to squeeze extra performance out of remote desktop connectivity, but it looks a lot like the software is reducing the color depth and adaptively changing the compression level in order to maintain performance. The consequence is that the image looks grainy or dithered—not a particularly surprising result for remote access.

The lower visual quality is not really an issue during regular day-to-day use of applications like a browser or word processor. With that kind of software, I found it easy to ignore ignore the graininess and odd color tint. It's a lot harder to ignore in video, however.

After my video test, I decided to try it with some 3D games. I quickly ran into a major limitation: Splashtop can't handle fullscreen games—it only works with games that are running in a window. After twiddling with the game settings, I got it working. It is indeed possible to play 3D games in Splashtop, but there are trade-offs.

Just like the videos that I tested, the games suffered from the dithering and other picture quality issues. The actual gameplay performance is quite good, but the cursor tracking is just a tad slow. You probably wouldn't want to play a performance-sensitive shooter, but it would work fine for many other kinds of games. I think games that are turn-based, for example, would be easily manageable.

In addition to testing real-world usage scenarios, I also subjected Splashtop Remote Desktop to a few esoteric tests for the sake of science. I installed the Splashtop Streamer in a Windows 8 environment running in VirtualBox on the Windows 7 PC. After I tweaked the VM's network settings to use a bridged adapter, I had no trouble connecting to the virtualized Windows 8 environment from the Mac.

I also tried out Splashtop's iPad client, which works basically the same way as the desktop client. The iPad version has some simple gesture controls to make it easier to use the desktop system on a touchscreen. I have historically favored the Screens VNC client on the iPad, but Splashtop's slightly better performance, support for streaming audio, and ability to adjust the server resolution for an iPad-friendly desktop size are all compelling. It's also worth noting that Splashtop is a reasonably practical solution for users who want to watch Flash video on their iPad at home.

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After conducting all of my tests with the Mac client, I have mixed feelings about whether it is worthwhile. The fact that it can do video and computer games as well as it does is impressive, but the unavoidable caveats detract from its real-world suitability for those tasks.

It's particularly important to recognize up front that the software is not a tailor-made solution for playing PC games on the Mac—it can be used for that purpose in a pinch, but it's not going to give you the full experience. For remote video playback, you are going to get better quality by using dedicated streaming software that can optionally do transcoding.

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If you happen to be in the minority of Windows users who are running an edition of the operating system that has an RDP server baked in, you probably won't find much additional value in Splashtop. The advantages that it offers over VNC, however, are worthwhile for users who rely heavily on remoting. At the $9.99 introductory price (the Streamer is free download and is available for Mac OS X and Windows), the new Mac client is a pretty good deal. Splashtop Remote Desktop has replaced my use of Screens on the iPad and has displaced TightVNC as my preferred remoting solution on Windows 7 Home Premium.

Splashtop Desktop App

Listing image by Photograph by Bernardo Borghetti