you still have to vac the sand, so one or the other the works is still there, I have used UGF
's since the 80"s and do like them for smaller tanks (less than my 125g) and even thinking about trying one out on it.
As for the amount of work needed, the only time I pulled the plates is when moving a tank or when doing a full tear down, pulling the plates is akin to changing out the HOB
's filter material and causes more issues than fixes.
There are options for chemical filtration IF you use the bubblers, but not for a powerhead that I'm aware of, if the tank is big enough you could run both ( I have before).
As for plants, I'm of a mixed mind here, on one hand you have to have deeper gravel/course sand for the roots, but with everything being sucked into the gravel there's food for the roots, and the roots will grow thru the plates.
As I stated before, not a lot of love for the UGF
on this forum, but they are far from the evil most think they are. I worry less about the UGF
on my 10 than the canister I have on my 125.