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View Full Version : I'm going to give SplashTop 2 HD gaming a try




Essenar
May 8, 2013, 07:09 PM
Let's build up the bucket list of what would be desirable to a user who's on the go:
Maximum productive functions and capabilities with all devices, whether they are tablets, phones or laptops
Easy ready access to files and media: such as music, documents, movies, pictures and applications
A complete media experience
Decent battery life to survive the day with these functions taking place

I want to have a light backpack with a small pencil bag full of a few pens, Japanese highlighters, a stylus. I also want to have a gaming mouse and my USB charger and that's it.

My MacBook is 'decent' at gaming, but only decent. I can play Borderlands 2 on Medium and Guild Wars 2 with medium-low settings quite comfortably. But that's a lot of baggage. A MacBook Pro, a MacBook charger, gaming mouse, iPad Mini and my notebook. That adds up to over 30 pounds in my backpack and while that's not 'heavy' per se, it's also quite risky to carry around over $3000 worth of electronics in a bag that's a swift sucker punch and a fast runner away from disappearing from your life.

So I want to have the 'best of both worlds'. I want to have console/PC gaming experience on the go and access to a desktop's worth of multimedia without having to unplug my MacBook at any point. If I'm in the library or taking a study break or on a trip with my girlfriend, I want to be able to load up my 100GB of ripped movies in HD quality and play them. Or if I want to level and try to get some rare weapons in Guild Wars 2 or Borderlands 2, I want to do that also.

I also want it, in the comfort of knowing that if my bag gets lifted, the thief only gets away with taking my $300 tablet and notebook and not my MacBook Pro along with my $300 tablet.

So why am I posting this here? Simple. I'm not sure the iPad Mini is the best device for the job. I love my iPad. I really do. It's a much better form factor for all around tablet use, it gets great battery life and despite the popular opinion, the resolution doesn't seem low to me. However: If I'm replacing my gaming with a majority of PC games being streamed, I won't need the refined advantage of iOS vs. Android because I won't be playing the likes of Ravensword or Real Racing 3.

So this thread will serve as an experience share, idea critique, review and demonstration of what it's like to stream a PC's functions to an Android/iOS tablet.

The Equipment:
2012 MacBook Pro i5 2.5, 16GB of ram, 750GB Seagate Hybrid drive
*Note: While this isn't a gaming computer by far, it's serving as a placeholder. If lag is minimized and the experience is fruitful, I will build a cheap gaming tower to replace this machine. The important test is not the computer itself but what will be used to access it.
iPad Mini 16GB - Jailbroken on 6.1.2 WiFi only
ASUS Nexus 7 32GB WiFi model - Rooted with custom kernel on stock rom
UCSD's wireless network + my 15 mbps Time Warner cable internet connection for uploading
Bluetooth keyboard + Mouse combo
USB gamepad + USB OTG cable
Maybe Dual Shock 3? They can pair up to the Nexus 7 quite well
Splashtop 2 for iOS
Splashtop THD for the Nexus 7

The activities I will test:
In OSX Environment : Steam + Borderlands 2, Guild Wars 2 OSX client, VLC Media Player, editing documents on Office 2011
In Boot Camp Windows Environment : Same activities, Photoshop might be thrown in
I'm open for recommendations

I will upload videos on Youtube of me accessing my MacBook remotely using both the Nexus 7 and the jailbroken iPad Mini and I will not merely town hop in each game. I'm going to go into combat/fight scenarios and test the latency when you have to attack/kill AI characters. I'm considering loading up World of Warcraft as well but I haven't touched that game in about 4 years.

UPDATE 1:
This isn't boding well for Splashtop. We're off to a bad start already. I downloaded the Splashtop streamer and checked out the app in the app store. $4.99. Not a big deal right? So I decided to bite so I can invest into this experience properly. I get the iTunes email, the app downloads and I log in with the credentials I created on Splashtop on my MacBook Pro. Sure enough, there's my MacBook Pro on the device screen all pretty and MacBook-like. So I click it, thinking I'll be greeted with my desktop and be able to try out some basic functions and see how the app works out of the box.

Nope. Clicking my MacBook swiftly takes me to a choice of 'packs' called the Access Anywhere Pack and the Productivity Pack. What the deuce is this? So what did I pay $4.99 for? Apparently jack diddly. You pay $4.99 just so you can SEE that your MacBook is indeed streaming. Without the subscription, you can't open it, you can't access it, send it messages, turn it off. You basically paid them just to be able to log into your Splashtop account. And do.... Nothing.

Okay fine, I'll bite. I'll get your stupid Access Anywhere pack but I'm doing it at $1.99 a month because I'm not going to make the mistake of diving into a year long commitment at the risk of it sucking and me having to go through your RMA process to get my money back. I click $1.99, I'm greeted with a notification from the App Store asking me to confirm if I want to subscribe or not, I click Continue. I immediately get another email from iTunes telling me that I agreed to a subscription. I checked my Visa and sure enough, I got charged $1.99.

But I still cannot access my laptop on this stupid app. I log out, connect again, I'm greeted with the pack options again. I click on Settings and click on "See my purchases" and it takes me to the SAME stupid pack option page. What the hell did I pay them $1.99 for if I cannot even do anything? We're at $7 so far invested and we have yet to even test the product.

So I do some searching: As it turns out, if you registered for Splashtop using a different email address than the one you used for iTunes, you have to send them a support ticket and WAIT for them to activate your account. SERIOUSLY? Even though I clicked the subscription button in your stupid app, I was given the iTunes confirmation and email and you even CHARGED my card, you still don't KNOW that I subscribed? Why not update this very simple but ground breaking flaw in your software? If you are charging your users nickels and dimes to maintain the application, why isn't it MAINTAINED?

So here I am, waiting around to use an app that I overpaid for so this review is on pause. The worst part is, I will potentially have to pay $4.99 again to access it from a Nexus 7.

One favorable advantage the Nexus 7 has over the iPad Mini at this point is that the Nexus 7 can use a USB OTG game pad or Bluetooth gamepad with button mapping. Without jailbreak, this isn't possible on an iPad Mini and even if it is, it's not nearly as functional as it is on the Nexus derivative. Essentially, the $2/month 'productivity pack' is not necessary in Android flavor.



mikeo007
May 9, 2013, 11:08 AM
I have a bad feeling that you're not going to get the experience you expect using splash top to stream games. It's *barely* usable on my local network at home running at about 150mbps. I've tried using it from work and the library where the wifi connection is more congested; and it's virtually unusable. You're going to end up getting 2-3fps with delayed control input as well. Really not a very good experience.

cynics
May 9, 2013, 11:23 AM
I doubt you'll be happy with the experience you are trying to obtain. Assuming I'm reading this correct that is. But that is one HUGE bottle neck in the system. Last time I used splashtop (over a year ago) it was great if I need to access a document on my PC and even email it or add it to my Dropbox but it couldn't stream a video across my home network (N - 150 mbs). It's refresh was too slow, might be better now? Doubt it though.

spinedoc77
May 9, 2013, 03:02 PM
Over wifi splashtop gaming is actually pretty good, I used to play regular PC games on my ipad in bed, but it was difficult to control and it was more of a novelty. Over 3g it's pretty bad, more of a bragging point IMO, but it's doable.

Oohara
May 9, 2013, 03:07 PM
Sorry for the derail but I bought the Access Anywhere pack for SplashTop 2 (not HD) so I could help my folks with their iMac from my Note 2, but I can't get the connection to work at all over 3G/4G. I can connect and see their desktop on my phone for a few seconds, but as soon as I try to do anything it just drops the connection (it works as long as I'm on their wifi network). Did anyone else have this issue and know how to make it work? I can't find anything to help me in their support pages.

Essenar
May 9, 2013, 10:13 PM
Over wifi splashtop gaming is actually pretty good, I used to play regular PC games on my ipad in bed, but it was difficult to control and it was more of a novelty. Over 3g it's pretty bad, more of a bragging point IMO, but it's doable.

I'm going to be using WiFi networks. WiFi at home to upload and WiFi at school to download. There's been YouTube videos of it being done successfully but people kind of just run around, test out a few bullet shots, show the dual axis sticks working and that's it.

I'm going to actually play through a game and see how it goes.

As of now, Splashtop still has not activated my account.

spinedoc77
May 10, 2013, 09:31 AM
I'm going to be using WiFi networks. WiFi at home to upload and WiFi at school to download. There's been YouTube videos of it being done successfully but people kind of just run around, test out a few bullet shots, show the dual axis sticks working and that's it.

I'm going to actually play through a game and see how it goes.

As of now, Splashtop still has not activated my account.

I actually played some pretty heavy duty games, one to come to mind was The Secret World MMO, in terms of graphics over wifi it ran flawlessly on my ipad 3rd gen. On my PC I had the settings maxxed out so it was pretty amazing to see those kind of graphics on my ipad. The caveat was the controls though, although this is before Splashtop added their game controller feature which I haven't tried out yet, I'd revisit it but I've switched to a windows tablet (which also runs splashtop nicely).

Essenar
May 10, 2013, 02:54 PM
Okay guys, SplashTop finished fixing my account so now things are running pretty smoothly. To try things out as a start, I set up my MacBook Pro at home connected to the Streamer and went to school on the bus. I connected with my iPad at a commuter lounge on campus and I was greeted with a native resolution desktop of my MacBook. The resolution was surprisingly very good and there was very little latency on the desktop.

I played Wreck It Ralph in HD and full screened it. It had zero lag and had full stereo sound on my speakers and on my headset. There were no audio sync issues. There was also no problem reading text on screen and in menus. The 'low resolution' of the iPad Mini didn't seem like a hindrance at all. I am curious how the resolution looks/feels on an iPad 3 considering it has a much higher resolution than the MacBook Pro. I'm guessing it can take on a higher 4:3 resolution like 1280x1024 or even 1600x1200. I might grab an iPad 4 if the iPad Mini seems sufficient but as of now, I have to test this set up with the Nexus 7 and make judgment beyond that. For now I'll continue with the experience.

I loaded up Steam and started Borderlands 2. Because I haven't played it on this MacBook after upgrading my hard drive, I had to wait for it to set up for the first time. Trying to play with the on screen keyboard/mouse was a bit awkward so it's time to step things up a notch and hook up a wireless mouse/keyboard.

Someone glanced over my shoulder and thought I had a small sized touch screen MacBook Pro. In a cool way, it kind of gives you the features of the ModBook but without the $3000 price tag and Frankenstein transformation of your MacBook.

I'm going to see about hooking up my Bluetooth mouse and trying out a keyboard mouse combination for first person shooters. Note: I'm not expecting to be able to compete in 5v5 tournaments and compete with professional gamers with this set up. I'm looking for the ability to play full PC games on a more "pick up and go" style. PVE questing in an MMORPG or PVE content in Borderlands 2, maybe a few side quests in Fallout New Vegas or something.

Jakoozie
Jul 31, 2013, 05:24 AM
This experiment really intrigues me. What are your experiences now? It's a been a while since the last update.

Is it possible to use this tech to stream between separate networks as well? And how is the lag?