I noticed the same benefits using Xubuntu 14.04. A lightweight user interface, very fast and easy to use. The OS is also very fast to install, very fast to boot, everything just works and updating is smooth. It may not be as "fancy" as regular Ubuntu or Mint, but I find Xubuntu very stable and polished (our usage is file and compute servers/clusters, desktops, mostly software development and office work).
"They" know which SIM connects to which cell tower, so I don't understand how this phone prevents tracking. Did I miss something?