What to choose for personal use? Manjaro or Pop!_OS, it depends on your personal preference, your hardware support, your system setup skills, ease of use, and other key issues. Therefore, in this article we’ll try to figure out which one is right for you by comparing the two distributions in many respects.
I don’t want to sound boring, but we’ll start with a summary of information on each distribution. Since without this information, the review may seem incomplete.
Let's get started.
What is Pop!_OS?
Pop! _OS is a distribution based on Ubuntu. Pop! _OS is released by the American company System76. The company specializes in the production and sale of personal computers, servers and laptops. Their goal was to create a distro that would work out of the box on their computers and still be beautiful and modern.
System76 positions Pop! _OS as a system for software developers, computer technicians who use computers for research and development. But I think ordinary users will also be able to figure it out.
Pop! _OS is a young distribution. The first version based on Ubuntu 17.04 was released in 2017.
What is Manjaro?
Manjaro is a Linux distribution based on Arch Linux.
The goal of the project was to create a distribution for everyone, from beginners to experienced users. Manjaro is much easier to install than Arch Linux. The distribution uses its own repositories, but there is compatibility with AUR (Arch User Repositories). On Manjaro Linux, you can use Xfce, KDE, and GNOME as the default desktop environments.
The first official release took place in 2012.
To get the most reliable recommended system requirements, you must also take into account the desktop environments, since it greatly affects the consumption of computer resources.
|1 Ghz CPU or better||64-bit compatible processor|
|> 1 GB RAM||> 2 GB RAM|
|> 30 GB of Space (Hard Drive)||> 20 GB of Space (Hard Drive)|
|High definition graphics card||High definition graphics card|
Desktop Interface and Usability
Pop! _OS uses the GNOME 3 [GNOME Shell] desktop environment.
The desktop layout is classic for the GNOME Shell. At the top is a full-width panel, and on the left is a dock for launching applications. Applications can be launched through the menu. Switching virtual desktops is available on the right side of the desktop.
Many users believe that Pop! _OS differs from Ubuntu only in appearance. But it is not so. Yes, both distributions use the GNOME shell, however, Pop! _OS feels more polished. My initial impression of the Pop desktop was that it ran smoothly and generally responded quickly, whether it was running in a virtual machine or on physical hardware.
On Manjaro Linux, you can use Xfce, KDE, and GNOME as the default desktop environments.
The Xfce environment is a lightweight environment that is fast and uses fewer system resources. Visually simple and attractive. Despite its lightweight structure, Xfce is a fully functional desktop with modern features and ample customization.
The GNOME desktop environment uses the Wayland display server by default. It has a simplistic look and feel with a less impressive feature set. Much of its customization is done through extensions.
KDE provides several different menu styles for accessing applications. Its built-in interface makes it easy to install new themes.
One of the benefits of using KDE is the customization of the desktop. You have access to a collection of instant widgets that you can add to your desktop. As a result, the desktop becomes much more customizable.
Performance mainly depends on the configuration of the system on which you are installing the operating system. Both distributions work reasonably well, unless you are using them on a very old PC, of course.
We didn't have to test the systems, as Brandon Hopkins has already done it in this article. We only have to refer to his research. For the purity of experiment, Manjaro and Pop OS both had the GNOME desktop environment.
Benchmark device: Lenovo ThinkPad T450, i5-5300U Processor (up to 2.90 GHz), 8 GB DDR3, 256gb SSD.
Both Pop! _OS and Manjaro performed roughly the same. Were compared: Installation speed, Boot speed, File Transfer Speed.
|File Transfer Speed||01:37||01:33|
OpenGL Benchmarking was done using glmark2. Unlike the popular glxgears, glmark offers a large number of tests for various aspects of a video card (buffering, lighting, texturing, building, etc.), which allows you to better evaluate the video card, which is perfect for those who want to use the system for gaming.
CPU was tested on Geekbench5. Geekbench is one of the best CPU benchmarks on Linux. It includes 10 load tests for integers and eight tests for floating point numbers.
jаvascript (Web) Benchmarking
jаvascript engine performance benchmarking on each system was done using Octane 2.0. Unlike most existing benchmarks, which operate with synthetic checks that stress test certain features of jаvascript engines, Octane is designed to evaluate performance when executing realistic scenarios found in existing web projects and jаvascript libraries that users encounter.
|Octane 2.0 score||20684||20711|
Drivers or Hardware Support
Judging by the reviews Pop! _OS works fine and doesn't require configuration on some computers with Nvidia video cards and computers with two video cards built-in from Intel + Nvidia, on which Ubuntu requires "manual" tweaking. The installation proceeds without any problems. Also, support for additional features on laptops (function keys, falling asleep, and others) is well implemented.
It is also important to note that there are two versions of this distribution, for AMD and Nvidia graphic cards, choose depending on your card. If you have a laptop with hybrid graphics, AMD processor and Nvidia graphics card, download the build for Nvidia.
As for Manjaro, things are no worse here. In Manjaro, you can use the built-in Manjaro Hardware Detection utility (mhwd). Its feature in providing flexible management tools in graphical and console versions.
Updates and reliability
One of the problems with Pop!_OS and Ubuntu in particular is its updates. If you want a new version, you have to reinstall the system or use the built-in update utility, which can break everything. After the release of each new version of Ubuntu, work begins on Pop! _OS. Developers correct errors that arise from the Ubuntu original release users. Only after that the distribution becomes publicly available.
There are no such problems in Manjaro. The distribution uses a rolling update system where you get the most recent version of the system using the usual update command. Now you will not have to worry about the fact that during the update your settings are lost or you have to reinstall the system, the Manjaro team will release only those updates that will be compatible with your system.
Manjaro Linux has its own repository, not directly linked to the ArchLinux repository, which contains all the possible packages, including updates, fixes or applications. They are all tested and stable enough to use. All packages are compatible with your system.
The Manjaro repository is well organized and has a lot fewer broken or outdated packages, making it easier to use. All updates are tested before they get into the official repository, so there is a very negligible chance that your system will break during an update, which has not happened so rarely in ArchLinux before.
Pop! _OS uses the Pop! Shop package manager to install and uninstall programs.
Pop! Shop is a clone of the package manager from the Elementary OS distribution. At the same time, the software doesn't include programs developed within the Elementary OS project. Pop! Shop has a separate settings window for enabling and disabling repositories, adding third-party repositories and enabling/disabling updates. This is very cool if you are a beginner.
By default, Manjaro uses pacman as the software manager.
Although pacman is a console utility, there are already many graphical interfaces for it, such as pamac. So if you don't like the console, but want to use only the graphical interface, then this is not a problem.
Popularity and community
Manjaro has a large community of users who are ready to help newbies get started with a new distribution. If you didn’t find an answer on ArchWiki or Manjaro Wiki and the search engines didn’t give the desired result, you can ask the community for help, for this there are several thematic forums on the Internet.
Manjaro has an official forum where, in addition to English, you can ask a question in many languages.
Pop!_OS also has a community, but not that big. But since Pop OS is based on Ubuntu, it will be easy enough to find a solution to some problem. There is also an official Pop!_Planet forum where you can ask any question regarding the distribution.
According to Google Trends, Manjaro has lost a bit of popularity over the past 12 months. But in terms of Pop OS, Manjaro is very popular.
First, you need to understand that there is no 100% secure system. Not in the real world, not in the digital world. This statement is true even if your computer is running Manjaro or Pop OS.
Therefore, if you need a secure system, then you can safely choose any distribution, the main thing is to install updates in a timely manner and don’t install packages from third-party repositories.
Comparison of Manjaro vs Pop OS showed that the systems are very similar, but at the same time have qualities that distinguish them from each other. By default, Manjaro has a flexible and less hardware-intensive Xfce desktop environment. But it does not include various graphical environmental effects. The GNOME shell style in Pop OS is more modern, but requires more computer resources.
Therefore, if you want a fast and responsive system on a less modern computer, then you should definitely try Manjaro. If you want a beautiful distribution out of the box and the features of Ubuntu, then feel free to use Pop OS.
But there is such a thing as VirtualBox, where you can watch and try out any distro you want.