the main difference is that the developers of Mint listen to their users and dont force crap onto them as most distro's do at some point. Also the user wants a user friendly os, easy to use, yet powerfull and sleek looking. and Mint has nailed it, mint also designs its own cinnamon desktop. There is nothing you cant install or use on mint that you can on another distrobution ... but with Mint you do it in style ... that is the difference
Wether installing suse, arch, ubuntu, or whatever you normaly use, chances are good that you wont like the main desktop enviroment much and end up installing gnome or mate on it, and then spend 2 weeks trying to transform the desktop to feel good, then mess with codecs, movie players, flash players and a whole bunch of other crap and eventualy when you get everything just right they release an update and break something and you start all over again. It is a nice learning experience sure, but after going through it a few times you kinda get annoyed with it. Mint comes out of the box already with all that crap installed, comes with a sexy desktop, nice sleek feel the desktopenviroment is developed by mint themsevles as well. take you pick man, there is alot of stuff that i feel can be named to put mint on top.
in a nutshell mint works out the box with very little effort needed by the user, where as most other distro's need a lot of work to get to the same point. the more advanced users are so used to learning everything the hard way and living via the terminal and having to spend 2 weeks setting up their os that they see mint as "childs play" or the "easy route"... but secretly they are dying to run it, just afraid their ego's will take damage if they are found running it