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LogMeIn Ignition review

Alan Lu
5 Aug 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
17.99
inc VAT

We review LogMeIn Ignition, an application that lets you control your computer remotely using your iPhone.

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Specifications

The popular LogMeIn service gives you remote desktop control over your computer via a web browser.

LogMeIn's website uses Java - a browser plug-in that's unavailable on Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch. Thankfully, the service can now be accessed from these devices using this app.

You still need a LogMeIn account, but a basic one is free. The free account does lack certain advanced features though, such as direct file transfer.

You just need to log into your account via LogMeIn Ignition and select the required computer you want to control. LogMeIn can remote control computers running Windows XP or Vista or Mac OS X.

PC monitors have a far higher resolution than the iPhone's 480x320 pixel screen, but magnification can be adjusted using the usual pinching zoom gesture. If the remote computer has multiple monitors, you can easily switch between them by shaking the iPhone.

There are also gestures for actions such as scrolling through windows and right clicking. A full list is displayed only at login and from the LogMeIn site, but most commands also have toolbar buttons. By default, the cursor remains stationary while the rest of the desktop moves with your finger. It feels odd at first, but it's accurate and makes efficient use of the small screen.

A dedicated text entry box and a menu-based application switcher would have made even more efficient use of the small screen, though. The onscreen keyboard includes Fn keys and dedicated keys for short cuts such as Alt-Tab. Typing on the remote computer using the iPhone's on-screen keyboard feels odd though as the iPhone OS's textual auto completion is disabled.

Controlling a remote PC from an iPhone via a WiFi connection felt more sluggish than when we carried out the same test using LogMeIn on a laptop. Lowering the target computer's screen resolution and colour depth, which can be done from within Ignition, can help improve responsiveness. Still, it's generally responsive enough for the sort of quick tasks you'd want to undertake on such a small display.

LogMeIn Ignition is easy to set up. Many similar programs such as Mocha VNC require you to run a VNC server on the remote computer. They may be cheaper, but setup is trickier. Despite its relatively high price for an iPhone app and rough interface edges, Ignition is ideal for those wanting remote desktop capabilities from an iPhone or iPod Touch.

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