The Win8 Metro Testbed app connects your iPad to a Windows 8 PC, giving you a taste of how the new OS works on a touch-screen device.

by Lance Whitney

Want to see how Windows 8 looks and feels on a tablet? Now you can tap into the experience on your iPad via an app called Win8 Metro Testbed.

Designed by the folks at Splashtop, the new app lets iPad users drive the current Windows 8 beta in all its touch-screen glory by remotely controlling the OS from a desktop. All of the Windows 8 tablet features and gestures are fully accessible on the iPad.

The app will set you back $24.99 in the App Store. And that’s a special introductory price; it will normally cost $49.99. So it’s not geared toward casual users as much as toward developers and other professionals who need to test Windows 8 on a tablet.

How does it work?

You first install the Win8 Metro Testbed app on your iPad, where for some reason it gets renamed Splashtop Win8. You then download and install the free Splashtop Streamer client software on your Windows 8 PC so it can talk to the iPad. The Streamer prompts you to enter a security code so only you can access your PC from your iPad.

Launching the app on your tablet then scans your local network for any PCs running the Streamer software. Tap the name of your PC you wish to control and enter your security code. The Windows 8 remote session then pops up on your iPad.

A small onscreen Hints Control Bar offers tips on how to use the app. But otherwise you can wander around on your own, using the same touch-based gestures that you’d normally use on a Windows 8 device. You can swipe from the right to open the Charms bar, swipe from the left to switch between open apps, pull down to close an app, and pinch to zoom in or out of the screen.

The app gives Windows 8 full run of your iPad’s screen except for a small icon in the lower right. Tap it once, and a virtual keyboard pops up. Tap it twice, and a Splashtop toolbar appears with options to access the Hints Control Bar, enable a mouse cursor, lock the screen rotation, display navigation keys, and sever the connection.

Running Windows 8 from my PC was very fluid and responsive. I was able to swipe and pinch and finger my way around the OS with virtually no lag time.

Navigating Windows 8 via my local Wi-Fi network was quite speedy. Splashtop also lets you control your PC over the Internet using your Google account as log-in credentials, which proved faster than I expected.

I also gained a new perspective on Windows 8 as a touch-screen OS. The same Metro UI features and gestures that don’t work well or at all on a conventional PC suddenly spring to life on a tablet.

Windows 8 developers and other users who want to try out Microsoft’s new OS on their iPads should give this app a spin.

Below is a video from Splashtop about its app:


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