My point is, a real center speaker sounds better than a phantom center speaker.
I'm not so sure about this. (Not that i have evidence to the contrary, either).
A phantom center would be perfectly matched to the mains, of course, since it's created by the mains. And if you're sitting dead center, I don't see issues with dispersion of sound.
To me, the benefits of using a separate center involve anchoring the dialog to the center image when people are sitting outside of the sweet spot, and having the ability to "bump up" the center by a few decibels to increase intelligibility of poorly-mixed soundtracks (though some receivers might allow the phantom channel level to be bumped as well.... I don't know)