Arch starts displaying just the Terminal, but if you spend time delving into the depths of Arch you'll discover a really powerful operating system that is fast and streamlined. If you install a desktop environment such as OpenBox the system still responds quickly. Arch's usability is down to what you want to install, which makes Arch a very configurable OS. Install a few packages and you can have an OS which is leaner and faster than the more bloated Raspbian.
An attractive desktop
You can combine OpenBox with a Raspberry Pi theme and Conky to get a nice desktop.
The Arch community following is big we're told.
A Class 10 SD card can apparently boot Arch to a login prompt in about 6-7 seconds.
Arch seems to still be in that stage of things being changed and making life hard! We spent a bit of time trying to use it and found that many of the instructions in online resources didn't work because things had been changed since the resource was written. In our test we didn't get close to the 6-7 second boot time (admittedly not using a top spec SD card) – our boot time was 29 seconds. For the extra 10 seconds or so Rasbian takes life is a lot easier because it’s much more stable in terms of the developers not pissing about changing critical things for some reason which is deemed more important than wasting everyone else’s time trying to work out how to get something to work this week which worked perfectly well last week.