I can't say which is better, but our local equipment rental shop has had a TC33 (gear drive) for rent for years. I've used it a couple times, it's a nice hard working tractor. I used it to get rid of a bunch of scrub, few year old alders, black berries, some other nasty thorny brush. It would push through and scrap them up easily with the loader. I can't say it's better than the Kubota or JD not having used all three, but I wouldn't have any problem buying the NH if I were looking to buy in that range.
The gear drive works, but if you're going to be doing a lot of back and forth loader work I can see how the hydro would make things go smoother and faster. If you expect that kind of work I'd definately look into getting the hydro.