I feel it's more user friendly.
It's just a matter of changing out the media every few months and replacing the filter pad on the top shelf a few times a week. It doesn't allow nitrates to build up as they can with the bioballs. I run purigen, chemipure elite and the filter pad in my media tray. Helps keep the algae in check with the chemi pure elite in the back too and keeps the water crystal clear.
I use the fuge for keeping macro algae which can help with nitrates as well as gives a home for pods
to grow for my pod eating fish.
You can get similar results without the addons I would think with proper maintenance. Some people use live rock or base rock in the back instead of the bioballs so that's another option.