Your mileage may vary, of course. But for me the choice has been an easy one:
I bought a modest, used Dell Latitude laptop computer for school and work. It is a 64-bit machine that shipped with Windows 7 and has 6 times the RAM of my desktop, an ancient Dell Dimension desktop with 512 MB that still runs better on LXLE than when it was brand new running Windows XP! I was a Xubuntu fanboy until even Xubuntu got to be too much for the old desktop. Lubuntu (at the time) was a halting, buggy mess that while plenty fast, operated with fits and starts. It didn’t last even a day before I was trying alternatives like MX-14 which was great for a while and then troublesome and rebellious later on. So I experimented with LXLE and it has been fantastic and trouble-free for over a year now.
But when I got the new laptop with 3 GB of RAM and all that power, I thought I should try good ol’ Xubuntu again, maybe play around with some other distros that would surely run better on this new high-powered 64-bit beauty. First to find it’s way onto the hard drive was Xubuntu, my old favorite for many years. Because it is stable, functional, simple, and has that wonderful Xfce desktop I love. It refused to run the computer’s built-in wireless card, and all efforts to install the Broadcom driver failed to remedy the situation. On a desktop it wouldn’t have mattered, but for goodnessakes, a laptop is supposed to be wireless!
So I tried Linux Mint Xfce 17 (codenamed Rebecca). Same great Xubuntu base, fantastically easy and safe updater that helps avoid the whole “borked by an update” scenario that the Ubuntu flavors are famous for (not so much on the long-term-support editions though). I love Rebecca! She’s gorgeous, down-to-earth, compliant, low maintenance, and eager to please. Best Mint yet! But again, wireless didn’t work. I actually ended up buying a wifi-dongle just to regain the functionality required of a laptop! I shouldn’t have to do that, but that’s just a fact of the times when you buy a computer that is “built for Windows.”
This little gem from ThinkPenguin.com cost only $25 and made my laptop a laptop again. It was the only option after spending a couple of frustrating days following every step of extracting the driver from Windows and “ndswrapping” it into Linux without success. Money well spent.
In the meantime I have been doing most of my work on the desktop, and growing increasingly fond of that ultralight and super-simple LXDE desktop. I hadn’t liked it on buggy, frustrating Lubuntu, but that PCManFM file manager is wonderful, the management and configurability of the panels and applets is every bit as elegant and easy in LXDE as in it’s older sibling, Xfce. Basically, I just got used to it, and since I use it here on the desktop all the time, I figured my laptop should be the same way instead of confusing myself between the two. And in front of other people too, since I use the laptop at work and school a lot. As much as I adore the lovely Rebecca, I decided to try out the new 64-bit LXLE 14.04 and see how it compared with my desktop’s 32-bit LXLE 12.04.
The new one very closely matches the old one, but omygoodness, the default applications are the very same ones I always use (and usually have to install, sometimes from a PPA). LibreOffice of course, but lookie here: Seamonkey! Heh heh! See I’m not the only one who thinks it’s wonderful, and knows how much less resource hungry this Netscape-based suite from Mozilla is than it’s more famous and popular Mozilla siblings. It’s even faster than Chrome! It’s almost completely set up the way I always set my own desktop configuration up, panels and all, right from the start. Almost no tweaking to do. And to my surprise, the wireless card works right out of the gate in LXLE! Even Rebecca couldn’t manage it, but here’s this “lesser” distro for older hardware that just recognized it and enabled it instantly. No more need to plug in my USB wifi dongle. Maybe I’ll use it on my desktop instead, so I can move my desk to where I want to without running wires around the house. Praise be!
I don’t even miss that once-beloved Xfce desktop anymore. LXLE does LXDE better than Lubuntu, and better even than Xubuntu does Xfce. It is elegant, lightning-fast, absolutely gorgeous, and stays out of my way when I’m working on school stuff.
Your mileage may vary, and people have their own reasons for choosing a Linux distro. But for me, switching from Linux Mint to LXLE was an easy choice. Now my laptop offers the same familiar interface and beautiful functionality of my desktop – and no longer needs special hardware added to give it the functionality I need.