RealVNC 4.3 review
Like several other packages this month, RealVNC is based on the VNC server. Unlike any other VNC package, though, this one’s developed by several members of the team who originally created VNC back in 1997. It’s also the only one to be offered on a commercial basis with proper technical support.
Despite its grand heritage, RealVNC feels surprisingly bare: you’re prompted for the IP address of the remote computer, which then appears in a standard window. There’s no toolbar, just a single drop-down menu. This unobtrusive design makes RealVNC ideal for routine tasks such as server administration, but to a casual user it’s quite alienating. As usual, there’s no remote sound or printing, but screen redraws were faster than the other VNC packages, and text operations were rapid, too.
You can use RealVNC to connect to a Vista PC, but the mirror driver disables Aero, and an appearance of the UAC kills the connection. A rudimentary multiuser system permits setting different passwords for full access, view-only access and input-only access. As with all VNC software, a Java-based viewer lets you access your remote desktop from any web browser.
RealVNC comes in three versions: a Free Edition, with only basic features; a Personal Edition, which adds file transfer and session encryption; and an Enterprise Edition, which adds Windows user authentication and support for Mac OS X and Unix-type systems. Licences are reasonably priced, but there’s little incentive to buy one unless you need its cross-platform features or demand better performance than other VNC-based apps.