I bet you thought you’d never see the day I write this review. Think again.
That said, that Colloquy review I promised is probably still a long way off.
Anyway, this is my first review in almost five months and my iPad’s debut on my blog.
Now, let’s get started!
Okay, so the first question many might ask is “What’s Wyse PocketCloud?”
Wyse PocketCloud is an RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) client app for the iPhone and iPad.
RDP, or Remote Desktop Protocol, is a protocol used for remotely connecting to a Windows computer.
It’s the reason I prefer Windows servers to Linux servers. It beats SSH for administration quite a bit.
And try using SSH for the stuff I’m demonstrating in this review.
This review isn’t exactly intended to describe the RDP protocol itself though, so if you want that, look here:
Now that we’ve established what RDP is, let’s look at the app itself. While I have it on both my iPad and my iPhone, I’ll review it exclusively on my iPad. The interface is nearly identical on both.
Wyse PocketCloud’s list of computers
Wyse PocketCloud provides a simple list of connections. Just tap one to connect.
Tap the plus sign to add a new connection.
Or, if you want to edit an existing connection, tap Edit on the side.
The connection editor
The Nickname field is the name that will show up on the connections list and should be set to something that will help you identify the server.
For those who have only one server (A good 80% of people who have any use for this app), this’ll be the case. For people like me who have more than one server, it’s more important to come up with useful names.
The Host field needs to point to either the IP or the DNS name of the server.
The Username and Password fields are your Windows username and password on the server.
You can choose between various resolutions. I prefer iPad Landscape, but use whatever is best for you.
If you need it, there’s also an option to use the console or admin mode.
PocketCloud’s global settings
The Settings tab at the bottom displays a list of global settings, including performance options and various other settings.
As seen here, one of Wyse PocketCloud’s most useful options is remote sound support, which I’ll show a good use for in a bit.
For the rest of this review, I’ll be connected to my home server. In case you’re wondering what “ZNC” is, it’s an IRC bouncer.
Bad things would happen if I were to close it, so just ignore it.
PocketCloud’s advanced mouse controller
Now let’s look at PocketCloud while it’s actually connected to a server.
Click the arrow icon two from the left at the bottom to toggle the advanced mouse controller I show in the screenshot.
Among other things, it can left-click (center button), right-click (top right button; shown below), and bring up a keyboard (immediately below the left-click button).
Using the advanced mouse controller to right-click
However, these aren’t the only (or, in my opinion, the best) ways to left- or right- click something.
You can left-click simply by tapping on something. You can double-click by doing this twice in quick succession.
You may zoom in and out on the screen by “pinching” in or out.
PocketCloud, using Spotify
Seen above is perhaps my favorite use for this app.
Thanks to its sound support, it makes a great alternative to Spotify’s app, which requires an expensive premium subscription with their service.
But… it can’t play in the background, right?
Unfortunately not. But (and I won’t cover this in my review, but go ahead and do it anyway ), if you jailbreak your iPhone or iPad, you can use ProSwitcher to background PocketCloud and enjoy Spotify in the background. It’s hacked together, and it has its occasional issues, but it’s better than paying $20/month for a crappy premium service you really don’t need.
A better way to right-click
Here, I right-click using an easier method. Just select the right mouse button icon, fourth from the left, at the bottom (by the way, you can toggle the bottom bar with the arrow icon at the far right), then tap whatever you want to right-click.
PocketCloud, with keyboard
Second from the left in that bottom menu bar I was talking about earlier, is a keyboard icon. Tap it to bring up the keyboard (shown above). Tap Done to dismiss it. The usual “dismiss keyboard” button won’t do it right. Go ahead and try it if you’re stubborn though.
With the keyboard open, just tap where you want to type, and type. It also provides a few essential function keys.
The horror. The word “Facebook” has appeared in a screenshot in one of my reviews. I’m scarred for life. Oh yeah, the screenshot is of PocketCloud’s action menu.
Most likely, you’re wondering “What does the icon all the way to the left do?” It brings up the menu shown above. I don’t know what the top two options do to be perfectly honest. I’ve never had a use for them. One could assume “Desktop Snapshot” takes a screenshot, but I normally just press Power + Home to take a screenshot.
Anyway, that just about wraps it up. I’m not supposed to provide a detailed description of all the app’s features. I don’t write instruction manuals. I write reviews.
Editor’s Rating: 9.5/10
I’ve yet to write a negative review of anything, and I never plan on it.
I only review apps that don’t suck.
Wyse PocketCloud is no exception.
I personally use Wyse PocketCloud for all my remote administration (and remote Spotify listening ) needs.
It provides all the features one would expect from an RDP client, and in some cases works even better than Microsoft’s official client (which isn’t available for iOS anyway, and probably never will be, considering they’re going to try to push Windblows tablets soon enough =/). Seriously though, MS should look at this app to see how things should be done. Sometimes, I can’t connect to my home server using the official client, but PocketCloud does it just fine. That said, the one thing I’d like to see added to this app is VNC support. If it had this, implemented as well as its RDP functionality, it’d get a perfect ten.
A note to MS, entirely irrelevant to my review (and yes, I like to overuse italics; deal with it). Just drop Terminal Services licensing already. If someone has Windows Server, they shouldn’t have to get additional licenses to unlock basic functionality. That’s just REALLY gay. You noticed I’m using console mode in those screenshots? Yeah. Terminal Services expired on me once, and after I got a hack working, I was too lazy to switch back.
Ending with that last line, this review was 1105 words, and I wrote it in about an hour and a half (counting the time it took to take screenshots). Why can’t school papers be that easy?
As for my next review, I’ll finally do Colloquy, if Apple gets on the ball and releases iOS4 for iPad at its media event on Wednesday, and comex will hurry up and jailbreak it. I promise I’ll explain why when I write the review.