Well, you have two simple features: minimize ribbon and the quick access toolbar. If you use both of these features you have as much screen real estate as you can hope to get and allows you to put commonly used but unrelated things on the screen. Of course, you can customize it as one Anonymous Coward described in a reply to your post and define custom keyboard shortcuts. I understand people dislike the ribbon for any number of reasons except those that are not reasons at all, please review office one more time.
Anyway, you are correct when you say that it brings a different set of advantages and disadvantages, however that is La Palice worthy as (almost?) anything that is comparable does bring one different set of advantages and disadvantages.