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Compared to EssCell, Matt Milella says it's much faster, e.g.: http://essbaselabs.blogspot.com/2010/05/cell-functions-smart-view-1112-vs.html
Of course, Matt would say it's better than the 'legacy' Add-In :) but seriously, he should know. You might also considering asking this type of question in the dedicated Smart View forum, since Matt and other Oracle people with direct involvement in the product do post there.
There have been improvements in HSGetvalue in the latest versions of Smart View to speed up HSGetvalue formulas, however, since it is still cell by cell (or grouped where possible) is it still slower than a grid retrieval . I've had multiple issues with it at various clients. If you have a large number of cells you are retrieving from Essbase or planning, is can be much slower. HFM seems to be faster, but I've not compared the two methods on it.