Oh yes,...I can say from experience that a "newbie" can handle Vector! Well,...I first tried it about a year ago (when just starting out in linux-land). I kept wanting to use it sooooo bad,.....but (like you said) it was basically Slackware, and that pretty well scared me. But by reading and searching the forum, here,...(and with very kind help)..
It's my main OS now. Don't care to use any of the "Big" distros anymore (I'm thoroughly spoiled by Vector).