TeamViewer is fast, powerful and secure, but business licenses can be prohibitively expensive.
Aaron Pinsker | TrustRadius Reviewer
February 09, 2019

TeamViewer is fast, powerful and secure, but business licenses can be prohibitively expensive.

Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with TeamViewer

There are three main features of TeamViewer that are used by myself and across the clients I manage. Specifically, TeamViewer can be used as remote access for tech support. Once TeamViewer is installed on a client's system, it can be used as an on-demand remote access tool allowing for screen sharing and file sharing. Once the tech support session is done, TeamViewer is closed and the computer is no longer accessible remotely. The other main use is for a client to remotely access his or her work computer remotely. TeamViewer is set to open automatically at startup, and set with a custom password that can be used every time.
  • Sharing a screen via TeamViewer is generally very responsive, even if the internet connection (on either the client or host side) isn't great. TeamViewer seems to use an adaptive compression algorithm, that will sacrifice some screen clarity for a more responsive and pleasurable experience.
  • TeamViewer includes a built-in file sharing mechanism that allows for the easy and secure transfer of files from host to client (or vice versa).
  • During the initial install of TeamViewer, you can set it up to "run-only." As in, it will not actually install itself on the computer but will allow for a one-time use remote session. This is ideal for a quick tech support session where the client doesn't want to, or can't, fully install TeamViewer.
  • TeamViewer is a very secure platform, providing multiple layers of security. First, the only way to connect to a client is by knowing the client's machine id - a 9 or 10 digit randomly generated number created on install. In addition, for one-time connection, a randomly generated pin is created on each use. This pin can be set as a simple 4 digit pin, up to a 10 digit strong password including uppercase, lowercase, number and non-alphanumeric characters. In addition, TeamViewer is initially set NOT to open upon login - meaning the computer is not accessible until TeamViewer is manually opened on the client computer.
  • TeamViewer can be used as both an on-demand screen sharing platform - wherein a client only opens TeamViewer when someone needs to get on remotely, and promptly closes it afterward - as well as an always-on screen sharing system. TeamViewer can be set to open automatically at login, and run in the background. A "personal password" can then be created for unattended access - this password can be as strong or as weak as you choose. One the password is set, you can connect to your computer remotely via TeamViewer at any time by knowing the machine ID and the personal password.
  • Initial setup of TeamViewer is a fairly simple procedure, especially useful when talking a client on how to install it over the phone.
  • While screen sharing is TeamViewer's bread and butter, it also includes a plethora of other features including file sharing as well as both video and audio sharing (great for remote tech support).
  • With a TeamViewer account, multiple computers can be logged in via the account and easily accessible within an instance of TeamViewer.
  • TeamViewer is truly cross-platform, with version for Mac, Windows and Linux, as well as for mobile OSs such as iOS and Android.
  • A personal license is free.
  • Perhaps the biggest con of TeamViewer is it's pricing and licensing system. While a personal license is free, any form of commercial or business license is a minimum of $50/month. There used to be a one-time fee which was also quite expensive ($600+ depending on the license), but it was perpetual. Now, in order to use TeamViewer on a business level, you must pay the minimum $50/month. For occasional use, this fee is simply too high when there are other, less expensive options out there.
  • During install, you are asked if TeamViewer is being used on for personal or business use. When you select personal, all features of TeamViewer are available, but with a personal license. When you select business use, all the features are again present, but on a trial basis until a license is purchased. Unfortunately, if you accidentally install TeamViewer with a business license instead of a personal license, it is extremely difficult, if not near impossible to change the license. You cannot change the license on your own, you must contact TeamViewer with your machine ID for their support to change the license. However, TeamViewer doesn't guarantee that they will be able to change the license, and they quote you around 30 days to actually change the license, when the free trial itself is only 7 days. Once the business trial runs up, TeamViewer is effectively useless.
  • Continuing along the lines of licensing terms, if you install the personal version of TeamViewer, but TeamViewer detects that you may be using it on a business level, your license will automatically change from personal to business. TeamViewer detects this by monitoring how many client computers you connect to - if that number exceeds a certain value over a certain period of time (both are nebulous), the license is changed. This is an issue if you are using TeamViewer on a personal basis to provide FREE tech support to friends or family. If this occurs, you again have to contact TeamViewer and hope that they will respond to your request and change the license back to personal.
  • On a more technical note, TeamViewer cannot relay certain key commands to a remote machine such as cmd-tab (Mac) or ctrl-tab (Windows) to quickly tab through open applications, ctrl-alt-delete (though there is at least a menu item allowing that key command to be sent), and other interface-related items. Typically, the key commands that cannot be sent are related to deep system integration.
  • While TeamViewer, as a remote access viewer, can be easily installed on iOS or Android - to use it for screen sharing functionality (wherein a user can share the screen of an iOS device) you must be using a business license.
  • Before TeamViewer went to a subscription model, its initial high cost paid off over time. While the initial investment was high, the return on it paid off over the course of a couple of years.
  • With the subscription-based model, for a small business, the high cost may not be worth with the investment.
  • For a large business, or a business who relies heavily on remote tech support, the high subscription cost may be worth it.
  • Because TeamViewer is subscription based, a business must calculate how much money it will make on remote support vs. how much TeamViewer actually costs.
  • In my personal business, I have moved to a competing platform as a result of TeamViewer's shift to a subscription - the investment was no longer cost-effective.
There are numerous remote access systems and software out there. For personal use, TeamViewer is an ideal option, as it is easy, powerful, and secure. Even with the high cost of business use, TeamViewer is still a great system, that is easier to use and more feature rich than many competitors.

For business use where only one or two computers need to be accessed, LogMeIn is a far more attractive offer as it considerably less expensive.

Depending on your business environment, one of the best solutions is a VPN server and using Microsoft Remote Desktop, Apple Screen Sharing, or VNC to access the remote computers. While the initial setup is far more involved and potentially expensive, than TeamViewer, LogMeIn, or other services, once the system is in place you have full control over and no subscription fees are required.

Finally, a newer service, Jump Desktop, is beginning to gain traction that works very similarly to TeamViewer. It is far less feature-rich - no file sharing or audio/video sharing - but it is generally quite quick and responsive, and drastically less expensive.
In general, as a piece of software, TeamViewer is excellent. It is fairly easy to both set up and to use, while also being quite feature-rich. Screen sharing is generally both high quality and responsive and adjusts to bandwidth demands and requirements on the fly and effectively. In addition, because TeamViewer can be used as both an on-demand type system (mainly for tech support sessions) as well as an always-on type system, TeamViewer can be used as a one-stop shop for remote access, screen sharing, and tech support.

Unfortunately, TeamViewer's licensing system is borderline awful. Not only is the base price ($50/month) extremely high, making it out of the reach for many small businesses, it is nearly impossible to switch from a business license to a personal license if that is needed. To make matters worse, TeamViewer support is generally unresponsive when it comes to licensing requests.

TeamViewer Feature Ratings

Screen sharing
9
File transfer
8
Instant message
8
Secure remote access with Smart Card authentication
Not Rated
Access to sleeping/powered-off computers
Not Rated
Over-the-Internet remote session
8
Initiate remote control from mobile
9
Remote management of servers & workstations
8
Remote Active Directory® management
Not Rated
Centralized management dashboard
7
Session record
Not Rated
Annotations
Not Rated
Monitoring and Alerts
Not Rated
Multi-platform remote control
9