The Remote Desktop App vs. TeamViewer Touch - Which is the Better App?

In previous articles I have tested the Remote Desktop and TeamViewer Touch apps for Windows 8.1 users. They are available for free in the Windows Store and both of them can be used to make remote desktop connections to your computers, from any Windows 8.1 tablet or hybrid device. But which one of these apps is better? To help you out, I have decided to publish this brief comparison between the two apps.
Read on to learn which of these apps is better for your remote connectivity needs.

What You Can Do with the Remote Desktop App

You can use the Remote Desktop app to connect remotely to computers or devices running a reasonably wide range of Windows operating systems:

  • Windows XP Professional
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Ultimate
  • Windows 8 Enterprise
  • Windows 8 Pro
  • Windows 8.1 Enterprise
  • Windows 8.1 Pro

The Remote Desktop app also allows you to use the different peripherals of the computer you are connecting from for operations that are run on the target computer or device. For example, you can choose to use your printer, clipboard, smart card or the microphone hat are connected to your device while you are working on a remote computer or device.

You can also choose to play the audio from the target computer or device on the computer or device that you are connecting from.

This app's contextual options include a Touch pointer button that activates the mouse pointer while in a remote connection. You can use this pointer to see the mouse cursor in the remote device or computer. When using the pointer, gliding your finger on the tablet's screen controls the pointer, not the item that you touch. For example, if you want to open a folder, you have to move the pointer over that folder.

IMPORTANT: The Touch pointer and Keyboard options are available only if you are using the app on a tablet.

For a better overview of your remote connections, you can enable thumbnails of recent desktops on the home screen and select from them. You can also open multiple remote connections at the same time.

Depending on the operating system of the target computer or device, the app displays specific contextual options. For example, when connecting to a Windows 8 or 8.1 computer or device, you have dedicated buttons for accessing the Windows 8 Start screen, Charms bar, or the app commands for the running apps.

To learn more about using the Remote Desktop app, read our full how-to guide: How to Use the Remote Desktop App for Windows 8.1.

What you cannot do with the Remote Desktop App

The Remote Desktop app allows you to connect to computers or devices that are connected to your local network or are on the Internet and have a public IP address. Otherwise, you cannot access them.

A big disadvantage that I found while working with Remote Desktop app is that you cannot use it to connect to Linux or Mac OS computers or devices.

Another issue that I have come across is the inability to rename your remote connections and/or save them in a list for further access. This is a feature that, in my opinion, would greatly improve the experience of using the app.

What You Can Do with the TeamViewer Touch App

A major advantage over the Remote Desktop app is the fact that TeamViewer offers the possibility to create your own TeamViewer account and register multiple computers or devices to it, so that you can access them from anywhere. This way, you can connect to computers or devices that are either on your local network or on the Internet by simply logging in to your account. To add computers or devices to your TeamViewer account, you need to use the desktop application.

Moving on, the next big advantage of TeamViewer Touch is the ability to connect to Windows, Linux or Mac OS machines, thanks to the dedicated TeamViewer clients for each platform.

IMPORTANT:To connect to another computer or device running the TeamViewer Touch app, you need to add the target computer or device to your TeamViewer account, since TeamViewer Touch does not generate a partner ID.

Among the contextual options of the app, there's the possibility of sending a Ctrl+Alt+Del command at the touch or press of a button.

Similar to Remote Desktop, you can also access the Windows 8 Start screen, Charms bar, or the app commands for the running apps through dedicated contextual options.

To learn more about using the TeamViewer Touch app, read complete how-to guide: How to Use the TeamViewer Touch App for Windows 8.1.

What You Cannot Do with the TeamViewer Touch App

While testing the TeamViewer Touch app, I have learned that the biggest downside is the fact that you cannot connect to a computer or device that doesn't have the TeamViewer desktop application installed.

Upon installing the application, a partner ID is generated. This is a nine digit code that allows whoever has it to connect to that computer or device. This method is especially useful when you don't need constant remote access to the target computer or device. For instance, you could use it when you need to help a friend fix his computer and you don't want to create a TeamViewer account.

Unlike the Remote Desktop app, this one doesn't have the option to zoom in on the remote screen, so you will have to use the Magnifying Glass on the target computer if zooming is needed.

Another downside of the TeamViewer Touch app is the fact that it doesn't allow you to choose what devices to share with the remote computer or device, like Remote Desktop does.

Verdict: TeamViewer Touch is the Better App

As you can see from this comparative article, where one app fails, the other one succeeds. Still, TeamViewer Touch wins the "battle" by being a bit more versatile than Remote Desktop and supporting Windows operating systems, Linux and Mac OS.

Adding the fact that the TeamViewer account lets you link all of your computers or devices to it for easier access, the verdict is pretty clear, since this saves a lot of time, especially when working with multiple remote machines.

If you work only with Windows devices, you might be satisfied using Remote Desktop, but if you need access to Linux or Mac OS devices, then TeamViewer Touch is the way to go.

We encourage you to test the two apps and see which one fits your needs better. Don't hesitate to share your opinions in the comment section below.