What Is Most Portable Roon Core Device

I’m curious what is the most portable computer device anyone has successfully used to run the Roon core software? I have a Dell XPS 15 laptop, but I’m wondering about something even smaller and lighter. It would need to be a stand-alone device with screen and keyboard but something with USB out and great battery life.

Before I got involved with Roon, I had a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 that might have been ideal, but I sold it to purchase my Dell. Whatever it might be, I would use it with my Dragonfly Cobalt so it would need USB and WIFI to connect to iPhone hotspot. I would mostly use it in the car (with wife driving) when on trips, etc. It probably needs to be a Windows 10 device, but maybe Apple. Something available used on eBay for not a huge price.

Maybe this one?

O.k. understood. Keep in mind that “mini” might include a mini display also (hard to read and/or not enough resolution to run Roon). An x86 Windows tablet like the surface should work but might be limited in run-time and library space when used as all-in-one Roon solution.

As I don’t use such a device for that purpose, others might share their experience.

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You can find high powered business laptops at ~2.5 lbs. Not cheap though. Mine is a Lenovo X1 Carbon. 14" screen, very thin (I don’t run my core on it though). There are others and getting even lighter. Don’t know about the apple world, probably something there.

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A Macbook Air should be fine, does the same job as any Windows 10 laptop.

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The 2020 iPads are more powerful than Windows laptops or the MacBook Air, but you’d need to buy a USB-C adapter.


Nope, Roon Core does not run on iPad, it can only be used as a Roon remote.

Thanks, Quentin. I just bought one but hadn’t tried it. I do successfully run core on a 2012 MacBook Pro when I’m away from home.


What’s your ask in terms of local storage?

You could try something like this, runs Windows 10 so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.


Roon core on mobile data is going to be bandwidth heavy for metadata and streaming so I hope you have a generous data plan or you are going to be mightily pissed off when you get your over data cap bill.

I’ve run Roon Core on an AMD A8 laptop running Windows and with 8gb of RAM. It runs fine, allows modest amounts of DSP and is where I started my Roon experience. Where I think you may come a cropper is in streaming rather than having any of your own files to fall back on. I displayed a Roon based setup at an enthusiasts show, and when things got tight (600 people in a hotel all with mobiles, all being serviced by the same cells) Tidal streaming struggled. You would need to know you are going to places with excellent coverage.

There’s is no particularly suitable machine above and beyond anything else frankly, especially since you don’t have a local storage requirement.

On the mac side, and especially since you don’t care about local files, I might consider ANY mac, frankly - macbook Air being the lightest.

On the Windows side, there are plenty of equivalent machines, light, and with two added advantages:
1- Many would allow you to have cell service right on the machine (you’re streaming after all). With a mac you can always tether from your phone but really that’s just not so convenient.
2- Many offer touchscreen which is great for Roon - so maybe a surface.

One thing I would def recommend is that you get an SSD as main drive, one with at least 256GB capacity. That’s all.

Even if you were an Apple person (I am) I would actually recommend a Microsoft Surface regardless - small, powerful, and has a touchscreen - for your usecase.

I think Verizon charges $20/month for each tablet in your plan. But there’s a limit of three devices so you would need to switch to a business license if you get there ($5/month so no biggie). I had to do this (have an iphone, an ipad and two apple watches).

Not sure what the complication is here. Pretty much any laptop made in the past 10 years will meet your requirements.

If you in the Dell world already try an XPS 13 or a Surface laptop or even a surface book. The surface book is a folding laptop with a detachable touchscreen. All are beautiful and great options but not cheap.

Apologies in advanced a bit off center of Roon portability topic as I do not think they support Roon but do support portability & many file formats as well as MQA are some of the Astell & Kern devices.