Reminder because I keep forgetting what's wrong with them.
(Another reminder: It's at least an option to get one of these, then run Win7 Ableton in a VM. There is lag you won't be able to get past, especially as regards recording live audio [not fully tested]), but it's an option. You also would have to learn how to pass a midi keyboard through into the VM if you want to use that [with lag probably too]. This method basically converts Ableton into just a sequencer, because the time lag is like half a second, for example, for a midi note played through the computer keyboard. This is worse than it sounds, because in practice you will play something, then hum a little melody, but you won't be able to add that melody to your song except through extremely difficult processing.)
TO CONTRAST WITH: Thinkpad X230 i5 with 16RAM. Good: Good enough to do all the programs. Can swap SSDs. Can swap RAM ("socketed RAM," not soldiered). Doesn't look valuable. Isn't costly.
Kickers: Only 4500benchmark i5. Kind of thick and heavy, compared with ideal (ideal is like an Acer Aspire V5 11.5inch plastic laptop). Does not Yoga or have touch screen (although there is a swivel/touch X230). Battery only a couple of hours (once you hack the Lenovo hardware whitelist).
TARGET: 12-inch or less, very small, very light (1.5pounds or less), Linux-friendly, access to swappable SDD card, access to swappable RAM slots, powerful (at least around 8000 benchmark). Good battery life. Touch screen. Yoga-ing ability. Swappable battery.
(Purposes: audio processing, video processing.)
New Thinkpads: none under 13.3 inch most larger, plus limited storage disks, it seems, and all 3 pounds or more.
Around the same width as x230 (0.7 inch), 13.3 screen.
13" laptop is designed with a 12" footprint. 2.7 pounds.
As equipped with the Core i7-8565U, the ThinkPad X390 posted excellent benchmark (like 8250). This four-core, eight-thread chip has just a 1.8GHz base clock, but an impressive 4.6GHz Turbo Boost.
The storage is tweakable via an M.2 Type-2280 slot (under the bottom panel) for PCI Express solid-state drives (SSDs). Lenovo offers up to 1TB options.
14 hour battery
KICKERS: RAM is soldiered in and not upgradable (or fixable). Not sure if it can take bigger than 1TB SDDs?
Thinkpad L390 (Front runner because its fairly swappable and has touchscreen and yogas. Main problem is it is a bit big and heavy)
This is a business-class laptop. A bit bigger than I'd like, and metal. It has good ports, and comes with the 8900benchmark i7-8565U 4core i7 (like basically all these laptops in 2019). It has 2 removable RAM ports (so you can go up to 32gig). It also Yogas (keys don't lock on this one, they just don't function), and has a touch screen and a pen with its own charging bay. Battery life about 6 or 7 hours (less than X1 Carbon by far or other more expensive Thinkpads). Also built to operate in really high temperatures for long periods of time.
Stickers: 3 pounds a bit heavy, size a bit big. Has that hard disk that screws in (so I can't just slide my 2tb ssd in, I guess, like I can with an older machine).
DELL XPS 13 9380
12 inches and 2.7 pounds. 11 hour battery. $900 and up. Soldiered RAM up to 16GIG.
Is it Linux-friendly? What's up with the ports?
Dell Latitude 7390
At 0.7 by 12 by 8.2 inches
12 hour battery
SONY VIAOS (would be great if they had touchscreen, Yoga-ed, and had swappable RAM)
Sony is making some nice little VAIO's again like the SX12. They're very small, and super light (like 1.5 pounds I think, or 1 pound). Size is good. They come with the 8900benchmark i7. They have good ports, including VGA. I think they have decent battery life. This is like a nicer version of the Acer Aspire V5 11.5 inch.
Kickers: I think RAM is soldered on up to 16GIG. They do not Yoga. They are not touch screen. Price is high for some (1200 and up), considering the things they don't do. Battery life only like 5 hours (not the 10 they say). They run really not like 90 when doing lots of processing (not dangerous to CPU hot but hot). Smaller trackpad. Harder to take apart (lots of phillips screws, then use a guitar pick to pry it apart).