This isn't entirely true. The better systems will steer channels, bands, and APs to give you the best signal. Although I don't consider these products to be prohibitively expensive, some balk at the price of implementing the higher end gear. I'm not talking Asus, I mean Ubiquiti and Aruba type stuff. I would not trade my hard wired Ubiqiti solution for a mesh setup, even if you gave it to me.If starting from scratch, you should definitely hardwire a mesh system in place. I had the wired AP method going with an Asus RC68 in the center and an RC66 AP. Bought the Google Wifi 3 pack and sold the Asus routers. Could have bought another 68 and sold the 66 or an even newer asus and used the Asus AI mesh, but in the long run I don't think they are going to do a good job with mesh. They are kind of the Samsung of routers, simply tossing everything and the kitchen sink into the options page with no feature improvement or bugfixes over the long term
Mesh is better than dumb APs since you end up relying on the router to do your AP switching. It will learn and improve. Wiring up APs with the same SSID (and manipulating their channel) will always rely on the device you are using to have a good enough algorithm to "avoid poor connections" and switch APs ... even if it doesn't present the different APs to you this is what is happening behind the scenes. Mesh takes this control up to the router level, and with the competing consumer options available it does a much better job in my experience
Don't get me wrong, I recommend mesh setups all the time, but I know what I like for my use.