In the past month I have made a switch between using the Arch based Manjaro to the Ubuntu based Mint. The change was purely experimental. I have found both distributions to be awesome at what they offer. They are both among the top 3 at the moment on DistroWatch.
Rollin’, rollin’ …
The first and foremost difference between the two systems is their release pattern. While Manjaro thrives to be cutting edge having regular releases, Mint votes for stability and gets updated side-by-side with Ubuntu LTS releases.
Manjaro follows Arch with its rolling releases and applying an extra testing layer to the process. This being said, I have managed to brake manjaro twice last year. Continuous updates are adding a hint of instability to manjaro.
Both systems have a large and helpful community, are well documented and provide a large amount of packages.
Mint has Ubuntu packages available and if that’s not enough, you can enable PPAs (Personal Package Archives) or install apps via snap and flatpak. In comparison Manjaro has a much larger and more up-to-date package repository. It provides the default Arch repositories and you can enable AUR (Arch User Repository). I never had a problem finding what I wanted on manjaro, while on Mint I often have to look for a .deb archive on the web.
I started with the Gnome version of manjaro, then with each reinstall I have moved on to try Plasma and Xfce as well. These are the official desktop versions, but you can also access community versions.
With Mint I have sticked with the most widely used Cinnamon desktop, but it provides Mate and Xfce as well.
I could’t tell them apart while running different developer tools and software. The cinnamon desktop feels a tiny bit slower then manjaro with lightweight desktops, but its not significant.