I like pack lids for aesthetic reasons and practical reasons. I'm not into side pockets either, as I hike up to peaks and they get in the way going up tight spaces or go bush bashing through forests. I don't have a problem stopping for a drink and opening the pack to get some water- an amazing concept for some, but I'm never in a hurry anyway.
I've tried lots of UL packs without lids, ULA Circuit, Amp, Relay; GG Murmur, and find that I can't get my head around the closures on these packs, and they always look and feel a bit odd, for me. They always have too much fabric floating around which I find gets in the way.
I'm stuck on my Golite Ion and my NF Verto 26- they work well for me, tidy, and clean lines.
I'm an artist, so maybe I'm a bit fussy about the visual side of things.
Hike your own hike- but I try to be the best dressed and cleanest looking guy (gear wise) on the mountain, 'cause thats just me.
2c de nada, I suppose.