Time and project management have only become more difficult tasks, and as more and more things in our otherwise productive environments compete for our attention, they’re only going to get more difficult. Remote desktop software can turn you into the ultimate digital multitasker, but finding the right software–such as Teamviewer, or some similar alternative–can make or break those efforts right out of the gate. Appamatix is here with a guide to helping you find the best remote desktop software available. We’ll show you how to match software features and limitations with your own needs, and hopefully not break the bank along the way!
“Remote desktop” software is a theoretically simple tool that can be applied to a whole host of different purposes. A software engineer might use a remote desktop manager to view a client or customer’s computer, helping them to install new software or troubleshooting existing programs. A project manager might use a remote desktop connection to view their team members’ work, managing their progress and keeping a project on track. The telecommuter might use it to connect to a meeting with the rest of a team, without any need to be physically present for it. The list could go on and on, but it’s one type of software that makes these types of tasks manageable.
For many users, Teamviewer is the go-to remote desktop option. It’s fast, efficient, and works on just about any platform or operating system that you might need it for, from Mac and Windows computers to Linux machines to the compact, smartphone operating systems that we use on our mobile devices. It’s one of the most flexible remote desktop programs out there…but it’s also one of the most expensive. With a business licensing cost that starts at over $700, it’s very difficult for most to justify purchasing it unless they use it on a daily basis or more.
Thankfully, the software market has responded with more affordable alternatives at various price points, ranging from free services to those with a more reasonable cost for users that don’t need a remote desktop function every day. Small businesses owners, individual entrepreneurs, or even freelance software developers have a need for more affordable solutions to their problems, and that’s where our list of very viable alternatives comes in.
Keep in mind that these programs aren’t all as flexible as Teamviewer. While it’s an expensive program, it remains so because it has justified its high cost to millions of people and businesses that make regular use of it. It’s the monolith amidst the sea, and while alternative programs are certainly going to give it a run for its money, there’s a good chance that Teamviewer will also look like the more appealing choice.
This is all right! Finding the right program is about matching features to needs, not searching out the biggest package that you can find. So, without further ado, here are a few software packages similar to Teamviewer that deserve your attention.
Windows Remote Desktop Connection
Maybe we’re cheating a bit by including the most obvious alternative first, but that doesn’t make it any less viable of an option! Depending on your needs as a user, this could very well save you a lot of money, and help you to learn more about remote desktop software in the long run.
Windows Remote Desktop is baked right into the Windows operating system and allows you to have remote access to a single computer, as long as the port settings and permissions are set up right to allow it. It’s more linear and straightforward than many businesses need, but for an individual user that wants to connect to a different computer–be it on their home network or elsewhere–it’s a free solution that shouldn’t be overlooked.
You can learn more about Windows Remote Desktop through this link, and also view a tutorial that will help you through the setup process.
Best for: Users that require a connection to a single computer, rather than an entire network.
For many, complex desktop navigation and program use isn’t why they need remote desktop software. Instead, they need it to connect several people at once over long distances, for team meetings, briefings, and other business-related gatherings. While Teamviewer can accomplish this task with aplomb, it’s also too expensive to buy just for that single feature. Enter Join.me from the LogMeIn team.
What makes Join.me especially appealing is how quickly you can get a meeting set up through its services. No registration is required and it’s only a download away, meaning that it only takes minutes in order to connect with other users across the world. For groups that don’t need to meet on a daily basis, this is one of the best options that you’ll find for doing so that isn’t going to break your bank.
It also boasts mobile connectivity, a must given the capabilities of modern smartphone technology. While the individual use of Join.me is free, business and professional license owners will find the most options available to them.
Best for: Business meetings and video/audio conference calls, where multiple users need to be present.
Cost: Free for simple screen viewing. The “Pro” license is $20 per month and expands the meeting capacity to 50 members with 10 simultaneous video feeds. The “Business” license is $25 per month and expands that to 250 users and enterprise authentication.
Though they technically share the same parent company, I’m listing LogMeIn as its own entity in this list of alternatives to Teamviewer. Available in three product varieties–Pro, Central, and Rescue–LogMeIn micromanages based on what you need from your remote desktop software. This allows it to specialize a bit more than Teamviewer ever does, only selling you the access that you require for your particular work.
The “Pro” option gives you full remote access to two computers and 1 terabyte of file storage. The “Central” option is business oriented and gives you remote access on up to 25 separate computers. If you’re an end-user that will frequently need someone to have remote access to your computer, then “Rescue” is for you.
All of these products require a hefty entry fee in the form of license purchasing, but they’re all less expensive than Teamviewer and allow you to micromanage your needs for this type of software, thereby preventing you from overspending.
Best for: Professional that need a remote desktop toolkit for their productivity, and plan to use it very often.
Cost: All options have a standard license which can be scaled up at higher costs. The Pro license begins at $149 per year, while the Central license begins at $499 per year. “Rescue” is significantly more expensive at $1299, but as an all-in-one remote support tool, this is to be expected.
Think of Splashtop as an upgrade from the basic functionality of Windows Remote Desktop. It still serves the same overall purpose–connecting you with another computer over an indeterminate amount of distance, but it does so with a much wider set of features and options that help it to be more flexible than the Windows-bundled software. Businesses can make use of it too, and a separate license is included for consideration of multiple users that need to connect to multiple computers.
What Splashtop is best at is a remote connection via your Android or iOS device, which can be invaluable for users that need to access resources on their home computer they’re on the go. For the individual that only requires a one-way remote connection to a single computer, Splashtop is a free alternative which performs amazingly well.
Of course, all of the reasons that it might appeal to the individual are also reasons that it excels in a productivity environment. IT and tech support roles frequently use Splashtop when they need to reliably service several different computers at once, and with top-notch mobile support, their “hub” for all of their work can be in their pocket, rather than back in an office.
Best for: All types of users! Individuals that need a one-way connection to their home computer benefit immensely. Business users find a lot of flexibility in the business license option.
Cost: Free for individuals that need to access computers on their home network. Business licenses begin at $60 and scale up from there, beginning with a license with a single user serving 10 separate computers.
This is far from the full extent of options available to you when you need an alternative to the ever-popular Teamviewer software. However, for your time and money, these are some of the best-rated products and services that you can buy into, and as long as you have a firm grasp on what you need remote desktop access for in the first place, they can allow you to save quite a lot of money by not purchasing more software than you actually require.
As telecommuting and digital space become more prevalent overall workplaces, software like Teamviewer (as well as all of our alternatives, above) become ever more valuable to the average user. If you have additional alternative recommendations, let us know in the comments below, and as always, share our guide on Twitter and Facebook if you found it helpful!