A lot of folks like the surface finish that reslts from a well-tuned plane or scraper, but I tend to hit the wood with sandpaper, even after planing or scraping. I feel like a properly sanded surface presents a more uniform texture for finish, but it is more time consuming, for sure.
I'll agree that this is not a one or the other sort of thing. My current project has some finish-ready surfaces done with a hand plane, some with a scraper, and still others with sandpaper. None of these are more advanced than the others. You want to use the best tool for the job whenever possible.
Every project and situation will dictate what tools you use. Straight grain - plane/sandpaper. Funky grain like curly maple or some cherry - maybe scraper and sandpaper. It is to your advantage to be able to use all three.