Review of the 5 best distrowatch distros: Manjaro

Manjaro Linux is ranked number three on the popular ranking site, Distribution watch, based on the number of visits to the Distrowatch page for the operating system, not actual downloads / user base. Check out my previous reviews of MX Linux and EndeavorOS here.

For those unfamiliar with Manjaro, this is an Arch Linux based distro that is often dubbed “Arch’s Ubuntu” for its user-friendly GUI tools and beginner-friendly approach to ways to do this. make Arch Linux. Manjaro uses its own dedicated software repositories rather than Arch Linux’s, but there is also access to the community-maintained Arch User Repository (AUR) that Arch users are familiar with.

Manjaro comes in several ‘flavors’, using different office environments, such as:

There are also community managed versions available on the Manjaro download page, including:

  • Budgie
  • Cinnamon
  • Deep in
  • I3
  • Comrade
  • To balance

Manjaro uses the Calamares graphical installer, present in other distributions, which is a user-friendly and easy to use way to install the operating system; anyone with even very basic operating system installations experience will find Calamares simple and efficient to use.

For this installation and review, I opted for KDE Plasma.

My specifications:

  • Ryzen 5 3500X
  • 16 GB DDR4 3000Mhz
  • System installed on a SATA SSD


Installing Manjaro via Live-USB was quick, easy and painless. Calamares is my favorite GUI installer utility, which makes installations very simplistic. There are easy-to-select options for wiping disk, replacing partitions, installing with existing systems, and managing custom partitions, all available for all of your specific needs.

Software and features included

Although Manjaro is based on Arch Linux, it is not Arch, and it is not as minimal as Arch or other Arch based systems. However, Manjaro KDE did not come with an excessive amount of bloat. There are basic common applications like a music player in the form of the Elisa app, VLC for videos, OpenOffice for your office needs, as well as Firefox, Thunderbird and Steam all preinstalled.

Manjaro also has some handy graphics tools such as the awesome MHWD (Manjaro Hardware Detection) tool which makes it easy to install both proprietary and open source drivers such as for your NVIDIA video card. Additionally, the Pamac utility simplifies finding and installing packages from the Manjaro repositories and the AUR. Manjaro is highly recommended for inexperienced users in this regard, as you can perform almost any task without needing the terminal, even installing new kernel versions through a handy GUI tool.


Manjaro, like other Arch based systems, is very fast and responsive when testing things in the KDE environment. With five browser tabs open on various sites, OpenOffice running, my three monitors connected, and Discord running, I used less than 5% of my CPU power and less than 2GB of RAM. Any modern PC will have no problem having a smooth experience with this setup.

Final thoughts

I used to run Manjaro exclusively on my home system, due to its power, simplicity, and my love of Arch-based systems. Although I currently don’t, I have no problem recommending this OS to anyone who wants to use an Arch-based system, but not Arch itself. If you are looking for a nice and easy to use system with lots of GUI tools, but the power and flexibility of Arch, you won’t be disappointed using Manjaro; At least in my opinion!

Have you used Manjaro? What did you think? Tell us in the comments!


Review of the 5 best distrowatch distros: Manjaro

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Review of the 5 best distrowatch distros: Manjaro

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Mike’s review of the Manjaro operating system


Mike Turcotte-McCusker




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