I salute you on the sane way you are going about deciding on a replacement for XP. I have a favor to ask. If you find a distro that you like better than Mint as a replacement for XP, would you please post back to this thread and tell me what it is.
I am not a Windows user, and haven't been for quite a few years. I am also not a so-called Mint fan boy, member of the Mint team, or affiliated with Mint in any way. I am, however, in a position to select Linux distros for people from time to time that are considering the possibility of switching from Windows to Linux.
I have just become acquainted with Mint in the last few months, and have been favorably impressed, with both the distro and the support forum. I used to install and recommend Ubuntu and Kubuntu, but I have since begun to recommend Mint, the Gnome and KDE versions. Mint seems to have gone to a lot of effort to make a distribution geared to make the transition as easy as possible without sacrificing the power and flexibility of Linux. I think they have made some good choices.
Not being a Windows user, my perspective is somewhat different from that of a Windows user, hence my request of your final opinion.