iDrive’s RemotePC not only offers excellent remote control of your desktop (even Android devices!), it can also take advantage of the company’s online storage service (at an additional cost) for backup. Fast and feature-rich with support for multiple operating systems, there’s also a meetings facility (Zoom, Skype, etc.) for just $10 per year.
Best Prices Today: RemotePC by iDrive
Having reviewed iDrive’s online backup service many times over the years, I know the company’s penchant for feature-rich endeavors. And RemotePC, which can take advantage of iDrive for backup, is the most feature-rich remote desktop software on the planet. I like the attitude – if it can or should be done, let’s do it.
Note: This review is part of our roundup of the best remote desktop software. Go there to learn more about our evaluation process and how to compare competing products./
Design and features
Even when it comes to the basics, RemotePC plays top league ball. It supports both client/server access using locally installed software, as well as web access from your browser. You can also invite other people for one-off sessions. RemotePC also doesn’t rely on web access for support of various operating systems: there are servers for Windows, macOS, Linux and, very exceptionally, Android. In remote desktop jargon, a server or host is the software embedded on a device that allows you to control it.
Android Control could be incredibly handy for locating a misplaced phone. Access it from your PC and make your phone make some noise (play a melody or change the ringtone) so you can find it. Don’t ask me why I immediately thought of that… 😉
Most remote desktop programs only provide clients/viewers for Android (or iOS), from which you can control your remote devices. Unfortunately, there is no iOS server/host.
As mentioned, iDrive is famous for its top-notch online backup and storage (it’s one of our top picks for this task), and the company leverages the service to back up computers/devices with RemotePC installed. It costs $60 more per year (only $6 in the first year), but it is very generous in terms of capacity: 3TB in total. That should be enough for just about any end user, even when backing up multiple PCs. Using this feature requires iDrive 360 to be installed.
RemotePC is extremely feature rich. Here are some of the highlights: support for multiple monitors with mapping to local displays; drag-and-drop file transfer between local and remote computers; screen recording; sound and remote printing; whiteboard (drawing on the screen) and chat; as well as screenshot of remote sessions.
RemotePC also offers an online meeting facility, although as with iDrive backup, it’s an extra $10 per year, which is pretty cheap. Inexpensive, but also competitive with free solutions such as Zoom and Skype. It is a difficult market segment.
RemotePC also provides a simpler experience for Windows RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol featured in more expensive versions of Windows). The software provides agents (a front end for the Windows service) for all RDP-enabled versions of Windows, as well as a viewer for Windows and macOS. That’s $10 per computer RDP per year.
Why would you want to pay for something that is otherwise free? Ease of use. The RemotePC version offers portal-based connections and group management so you don’t have to configure firewalls or routers.
RemotePC isn’t free, so it’s likely only of interest to users with ongoing remote desktop needs, not those looking for the occasional one-off solution. I tested the Soho plan which costs $79.50 per year for 10 computers, but the $39.50 plan for two computers is probably the best fit for most people. There are also heavier plans for large enterprises and enterprise-class businesses. All are discounted for the first year. See below.
Note that the number of computers in each plan is the number of computers that can be controlled. As with all services, you can install and use a client on/from any computer. All of the currently available plans and their accompanying first-year discounts are listed below. As noted, backup to iDrive, RDP support, and meeting support are separate add-ons.
iDrive pointed out the performance aspects of RemotePC to me. And in my experience, it was clear that this is a priority. Connections are made through the iDrive web portal, but after that communications take the shortest path. It made RemotePC pretty snappy with my local network and internet sessions. The speed at which RemotePC connected and transferred files was excellent, and navigating the remote PC’s menus and windows was extremely easy.
I can’t say if RemotePC is the fastest RC program I’ve used, but it’s pretty darn close to TeamViewer, the fastest in my experience. The same connections using Microsoft’s Remote Desktop software and Chrome were considerably slower, though still perfectly usable. However, this was from macOS, so the status of local GPU driver support is suspect. I was also impressed with the quality of the RemotePC audio delivered by the, um… remote PC.
My Android phone’s control performance was okay, but not perfect. There were occasional scrolling issues and the connection flickered several times. But as I said earlier, the fact that RemotePC can do this is very handy. I actually used it to locate my phone once.
Excellent in every way
There are of course free remote solutions, but RemotePC offers so many extra features (free and paid) and works so well that I would even recommend it to the average user if the free stuff proved frustrating. It should of course be on the shortlist of any IT department. In truth, it probably deserves more than a 4.5. Add the iOS control and we’ll talk.