VMLite VNC Server – control your Android phone or tablet from your computer!
Aug 24, 2012 7:17 PM –
VMLite VNC Server is a combination of an Android app, desktop app plus VNC viewer app that will allow you to control an Android phone or tablet from a computer or another Android device! Let’s show you the cool uses of an app like this in this review.
Tested on: Samsung Galaxy S3
Pros & Cons:
- Control your Android phone or tablet from your computer or laptop!
- Works in a desktop program or web browser!
- Possible to project your phone onto a larger screen!
- Works on non-rooted devices as well as rooted!
- Huge visual lag between transitions and actions on the larger screen, i.e. won’t be suitable for showing games or videos.
- A bit technical and may be intimidating in non-techies.
- Not sure how, or why, but it seems the reduction of screen capture size to half in the app’s settings menu results in a red tone over the phone’s display in the web or desktop VNC viewer app… weird.
Have you ever had a need to project the actions of your phone onto a larger screen? How about controlling your entire phone from your desktop or laptop? With VMLite VNC Server… it is possible!
I personally wish I had this technology at my disposal at past speaking engagements or workshops where I was instructing a group and needed them all to see exactly what was on my device. I also have a desire to stay more productive, sometimes working on my laptop and emails come in from various accounts, it’s a breeze to jump in and out of Gmail accounts on Android and a pain to do on the desktop as you have to login each time. This desire makes me ponder, “Is there a way I can jump into my phone and just control it from my computer?”
To an extent, I’ve been able to do portions of that job; send/receive text messages, answer calls, manage files, etc. from my computer over a Wi-Fi network with apps like the magnificent MyPhoneExplorer. VMLite VNC Server, however, takes this to the next level by allowing you to use software like Real VNC Viewer to control everything on your phone or tablet without stinking wires over Wi-Fi.
Once you have installed the desktop app (for PC, Mac and Linux), it will install various device manufacturer’s device drivers to ensure your phone or tablet properly connects to your computer. Next, you should install the Android app and connect your phone via USB cable and click the “Start VMLite VNC Server” button as seen below. Note: for rooted users, this is the only time you should have to run this desktop app. However, for non-rooted users, you will have to run this app each time you reboot your device. Lastly, you will need a separate VNC app, I chose to install Real VNC Viewer… the freebie doesn’t allow for encrypted connects and limited to 5 different computers.
VMLite VNC Server Android App Controller
For the security conscious (that may have shuttered at my usage of an unencrypted VNC connection), the app allows you to set a VNC password in the settings menu. Be sure to explore the settings as it has some features that may be helpful.
There are a few steps to set this up though…
How to Setup VMLite VNC Server
- Install the desktop app from developer’s site here. Hint: be sure to allow this app through your firewall.
- Install the Android app.
- Install a VNC viewer app of your choice.
- Run the VMLite VNC Server app.
- Run your VNC viewer app and enter the IP address information from your phone then click “Connect”.
- Cheers! Control your phone or tablet from your computer (see more tips below!)
For more troubleshooting you can consult the developer’s help guide. Once connected, below are some tips on controlling your phone with your keyboard:
VMLite VNC Server
VMLite VNC Server Settings
VMLite VNC Server Web App Phone Home Screen
VMLite VNC Server Web App Browsing the Web
VMLite VNC Server Web App Viewing App Drawer
VMLite VNC Server Web App Watching a Video
VMLite VNC Server Android App Controller
An app like this may not be useful to everyone, however, I have in the past and still do have a personal need for an app like this to help with productivity and cut down on unnecessary device switching throughout my day. If you use this app, or others like it, I would like to hear your use cases in the comments below!
Ease of Use:
Although this genre of apps in combination may intimidate non-techies, I would concur that it was actually very easy to get all three pieces of software installed and running in under ten minutes. If you’re highly technical, this workflow will be a breeze.
I personally would seldom use a setup like this, however, I could see others who work at a desk with other devices, using this combination on a daily basis.
The app on your phone only has a basic interface to start or stop the VMLite server to allow VNC access to the device. More of your attention will be focused on your computer to project your phone or tablet screen.
A flaw I did notice, however, a result of the higher resolution screen of my Galaxy S3 at (720×1280 pixels), just over half of the device could fit on the screen (see here), thus resulting in vertical scrolling. The workaround to this is to use the web browser and not the desktop VNC viewer app, essentially utilizing the browsers display reduction functions. Then you can hold the “Control” button then press the “-” minus button to reduce the browser display size to fit the phone onto the screen.
Lastly, and disappointingly, there is significant lag between refresh rates on the computer from the phone (like one frame per second slow). So if you intend to show off games or videos, forget it! Yes, games and videos will play but the display refresh rate would be no where near fast enough to show a coherent visual. This combination is best used on static apps like email, news, calls, etc.