T'was a long read to get through all 17 pages! Refractors are better than reflectors in some instances, and visa versa. I would not expect my 5" APO to even come close to the viewing capacity of my Orion 12" Dob at my dark site. I'd prefer to buy a house than buying a 12" APO when a 12" dob costs spare change in comparison. After the dob cools down and starts pulling another mag or two deeper than the 5" APO, the refractor gets packed away for the rest of the evening.
When doing wide field imaging, I would also never expect to be able to buy a 130mm F/5 newtonian with a 55mm corrected (flat and illuminated) imaging circle. I would never expect to get excellent views from a 130mm F/5 newtonian with a Nagler 31mm and near 4º FOV. Running my 130mm F/5 APO at 15x magnification with just shy of 4º FOV at my dark site during winter is breathtaking, especially when surfing around the centre of the Milky Way!
A refractor excels at short focal lengths with potentially HUGE imaging circles and still usable as a visual instrument. I mean, how many <10" newts out there are you put a KAF-16803 sensor or AND use for visual work? 50% obstruction would be needed. I also doubt I would ever buy a refractor larger than the 5.1" mark either, that is why I have a 12" dob
Can a 5" newt do as good as a 5" APO? They can both perform to the extent that I wouldn't be able to tell the difference at the EP when looking at a planet. I would however not be able to put a 55mm plossl on the newt and still not notice the difference
I personally believe that anyone just getting into astronomy, their first telescope should be something along the lines of a 100ED F/9 refractor. Someone just beginning to dabble in astronomy, they want a system that they don't have to work for, one that will cool down in 15 minutes and give fantastic views. For the same price you can buy a 10" dob but with that comes its own complications. It may be able to out resolve a 4" ED but the refractor works straight out of the box and performs.