I'd say this qualifies as evidence
I think i was too brief, so let me explain.
You have a 2 20 gallon tanks both identical in terms of plants and fish and one tank has a sponge filter and one is running a big canister.
After a year which tank is cleaner? They should be the same because bacteria has colonized the tank and filter media to the point it needs to. More surface area allows for more bacteria but there will still only be as much bacteria as there is food to feed it such that much of the space will in effect be wasted.
I personally feel that these high tech filters and the desire to have them is driven solely by the manufacturers of said filters.
My daughter wants a laptop, the best, fanciest, and most expensive. Why? because it is the best. Okay fine. Why does she need the best? To send emails, watch You-Tube videos, and play around on the net.
Having the best and needing the best are very different things.
So a big, fancy filter might be better, but that does not make it more effective.