After twelve years on Linux, I've used a bunch of distributions. After Slackware came RedHat, Mandrake/Mandriva, Kubuntu, Mepis and now Debian. Most of them KDE-based.
The last Debian version was Squeeze. So, more than two years with almost the same software. A distro stable but often upgradeable is the dream of any desktop user. Yes, you have Debian Testing, but sometimes the upgrades can due to a sort of mess. With the goal to get an approach to a 'semi-rolling distro' tried SolydK. The base is Wheezy (now stable), but monthly you can get an upgrade from Testing... once the developers have tested the new packages. If they do no fit with enough stability, the upgrade is postponed. Of course, there are instant upgrades -directly from Debian repos- when it is a matter of security. During the last three months I've been using SolydK in a daily basis without any issue. Fast and stable as a Debian (what actually is) but with updated software. Last versions of Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice, etc; no need of backports. The feeling of SolydK is the one of a very polished distro. No surprises here: the main developers previously were main contributors to LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition). But the result now is much better.
Lately, Debian is much more easy to install and mantain that it used to be. But, for real newbies, SolydK has some useful tools: to install, add proprietary video or wireless software, etc. As Mepis has been in that matter. And, also as the Mepis Forum, the SolydXK forum is very friendly and helpful.
This review deals with SolydK (KDE edition), but the same team publishes another version with a 'tuned' XFCE, much lighter and faster in old hardware. I installed this version (SolydX) on an 10 years old laptop with a Pentium-M and 1GB of RAM. Really you can not feel that it is short in resources. Maybe OpenBox or LXDE could make it run faster, but now XFCE is quite complete, and you do not notice a big difference with the desktop.
You can find more information in SolydXK's site