I also have tried MATE (too limited on the customization menus and options) feels, i dunno a tiny bit clunky and square but its good no doubt, i may try it again in a few months time. Cinnamon I have found to be a bit picky about how it chooses to perform on a set day with different hardware, although it is stylish and expo mode is brilliant, amazing how windows never managed with anything like that. But in the end XFCE is perfect for me right now (apart from no Expo mode and i don't like fudging it with compiz either!) you start off as a new user thinking, yea this is light and simple it performs better than you could want but it looks a bit flat (although the mint theme beefs it up a little) and within a few hours you have it looking better than windows 8 / KDE
(imo obviously some people like lots of animations and tiles etc..)
once you start changing fonts, DPI, Themes, composition and icons you can re-skin a whole desktop to look completely different within 30mins and it still remains fast and stable.