I look forward to reading your report on the performance of the mower with the side discharge chute opened. Personally, I have never been happy with the performance of any of the mulching mowers I have tried on my yard. If you like the way the mower performs with the side discharge chute open but do not like the clippings on the yard the remaining option is to bag!
I have owned several tractor style mowers and now own two Pro Quality ZTRs ( a Gravely Compact Pro and a Toro Z-500). Without a doubt the ZTRs leave the grass smoother but that improvement comes at a heck of a cost. The more significant advantage to me, personally, is the time savings versus a tractor style mower.