I think more often than not I just don't have enough experience with Linux to really evaluate all it has to offer.
My guess is that if you're like most of us, you also don't use all that Windows has to offer. Which really, can be just as, if not more, complicated than many versions of Linux. There are many features under the hood of Windows 7 Pro that only a fraction of it's users takes advantage of. The only reason why I chose Pro over Home Premium, was that prior to the release of SP1, many of us were still doing our "priority" items, such as tax returns, on XP Pro. Well, Windows 7 Pro users has access to a virtual XP in XP Mode, one of the extra benefits of the OS. So we had two OS's in one, on demand.
The ability to access more than 16GB RAM is also a benefit of Pro.
Many of the other features, most home users doesn't know exists, let alone use these & today, XP Mode usage is likely at all time lows.
As to Linux Mint, it'll be the same way, Many of us who uses the OS, including myself, are barely scratching the surface of what's under the hood. And as long as one doesn't need all that the OS offers, it doesn't matter. What does matter, is the features that you have use for & able to access these. In addition to Firefox & Google Chrome, VLC Media Player is included in the install, the very same one as that of Windows, there is Skype for Linux, while the look is a bit different, still works much the same. And many finds LibreOffice a great drop in replacement for MS Office. Which also has a Windows version.
For starters, a nice secure & responsive Web browser w/out the overhead of layers of security apps. This is the starting point & where I began. And still much of what I use Mint for today, to have a secure Web session w/out the fear of malware overtaking the computer. Note that by this statement, I'm not saying it's physically impossible to be attacked, but it would be very hard to accomplish. First you would have to physically enter your password to allow it, secondly, the malware would have to be written for the Linux you're running & targeting you personally, as there's no Linux malwares "in the wild".
Thirdly, at this time, the Linux community is small & malware distributors prefers larger (& easier) targets to attack.
So security is one huge plus in your favor.
I know I tried Mint on my faster (Win 7) notebook but for some reason I wasn't that impressed. I'll have to fire it up again. (As I recall it was painfully slow, which doesn't make sense).
May have been the particular OS version, which one was it? Earlier Cinnamon versions were reported by many to be slow, especially at boot. However though that desktop is still growing, it has matured & will only get better as time passes. If it were the main (MATE) version, that one is now faster also. Windows 7 has had so many post SP1 updates to the point it's slowed the OS. SP2 is badly needed, was supposed to include native USB 3.0 support, but MS is determined to shove an OS down it's customer's throats that's not wanted in Windows 8.
On all of the computers which I have both Windows 7 & Linux MInt 17 installed on, three of them, MInt holds it's own quite well. The one that I'm on now is installed to SSD & can be seen in the Speccy specs of my sig. Mint 17 is installed to the smaller of the two Samsung 840 EVO's & is blazing fast.
And doesn't run bad on the other two where it's on a HDD. If I were to take boot times away, most everything else is as fast as on the SSD's on those notebooks.
So really, it's a matter of downloading the latest version, install & update it, check for 3rd party drivers (optional, only needed if the open source ones aren't doing the job), enable the ufw firewall as pointed out above. And simply use the OS at your pace. That is key, learning at the pace you feel comfortable with. As far as using the OS to browse the Web with, that's a great as any starting point & the rest will come to you. Wasn't it that way with Windows? The first time I actually used a computer was on the job, a handheld unit for route sales, at the age of 30 & of course, store computers to enter the items I was bringing in (fresh product) & taking out (stales). I don't have any idea of which OS the handhelds used, only they were tied to an Apple computer at the distribution center, but most of the store computers were earlier Windows versions.
I guess then, my first computer usage was on the job. A few years later, after I was promoted, finally had my own office with a real desktop computer, one handed down from the corporate office. With a company issued Yahoo Mail account, though I only used this for company business. Up until that point, like many others, I was one of those anti-computer types, knowing that the company used these to keep track of production, in my case, sales. When I had a slumping week or two, my supervisor would know & on what end. Though when I was on the lower end of the pole, I didn't like it, once I was promoted, I began to appreciate computers. This was because I was paid a base supervisor salary & the rest was based on route average, a percentage of that of the employees under me. Based on sales, I could go behind and change the product orders that sales associates placed to what I felt would move better.
And the thing is, I could have done this just as well on a Linux Mint OS as I could Windows (the company switched from Apple to Windows in 1996).
The fact is, computers (& Linux MInt) can be complicated to use, but doesn't have to be. Only a small percentage of users will need advanced features & home users can keep things as simple as needed. That's what I do. The most complicated tasks that I perform on Linux is running virtual machines. That's running an OS within an OS. This allows me to try new OS to see if I like them, plus I have a dedicated Windows 7 VM on demand for when needed.
Whenever I need to learn something new, Google is a step away, with an occasional assist from Bing. Occasionally I will have to ask for assistance, but usually my question has already been asked many time & answered just as many.