Elementary OS is the best Linux Desktop period.
The author, like many on the topic, is a bit misguided, so let's be clear; Elementary OS is now, without question, the best Linux desktop in existence, period. Not just for "new users" and not just for "low hardware" but it quite literally blows away virtually every other linux desktop in exitence, and by a farily wide margin.
As for elementary's competition? In my experience, Ubuntu has turned into little more than glorified adware courtesy of Amazon, with crazy crap all over the useless Unity Lens and spyware defaults...vile...
KDE is...fine, if you have a Core i7 with 4-8 gigs of RAM, and even then, it's a sausage approach to UX design, throw everything in there!
Both Unity and KDE miss what makes Linux a compelling proposition, namely, the ability to run a secure OS on limited hardware specs with a clean pleasant design.
Elementary is the most useable current desktop environment in Open Source, and the current stable release Luna basically flies on 2-5 year old hardware. It also does what GNOME used to do before their developers went insane, copy the functionality of Mac OS. I have an ASUS laptop I bought designed to run with ubuntu, swapped it out with elementaryOS and I have to say, it's a revelation, it's like walking out of the muck of bad UX ideas now in vogue (looking at you GNOME 3.x and Unity) and into an effortless, easy-to-use desktop environment utopia.
I agree with the author, the default apps are insane, but it's easy enough to swap out the defaults with mozilla, thunderbird, libreoffice, etc.
So in summary, if you want to use Linux, and need a functional desktop rather than developer pr0n, elementary is far and away the best choice. This is what makes Linux and open source great, that a tiny group of developers can achive in a couple of years what a heavily financially backed Canonical couldn't in a decade, namely, a great UX.