I have panda corys in my tank and a sand substrate. From what I can tell they seem to love it. For the effect I'm trying to get in my tank the sand looks great I think. While it is true that there is some difference between sand and gravel in the long run sand is no more trouble. First, all the crud you're going to need to vac up is on top of the sand, unlike gravel you don't have to go rooting through the substrate to get everything. Second, you do need to stir the sand but it's not a huge production. I have a two pronged grill fork that's about sixteen inches long. I churn the sand with that after each vacuuming. It takes about five minutes to do on a 55 gallon tank. If I could ever remember to buy some malaysian trumpet snails it'd probably take even less time.
Watch my tank progress from Craigslist salvage to fishy habitat: Aaron's Tank The only things that happen quickly in an aquarium are bad things.