I have been running Arch for about a month. Have it installed on my desktop and lappie. The desktop is a multiboot with Arch, Ubuntu 13.04, Mint 13 LTS and Windows 7. The lappie is a dual boot of Arch and Windows 7.
You are correct about Arch. It is a minimalist installation without all the usual software that comes with other distros. With that being said if you are afraid of terminal you will not be able to install. The installation is total command line, no GUI. Here is a good article that walks you through the Arch install,and lays out the fact that Arch really isn't for Linux beginners. That's not to say a beginner can't run Arch, but experience suggest most will not be able to.