Selenium webdriver is W3C standard for browser automation, so any "better alternative" is a niche solution.
"Record and play" tools may generate "tests" for you. Of course you will lose all the benefits of concise solution which you can get by using real programming language.
Script may for example set up correct date (say, 1 hour from now), can wait in much smarter ways for different ExpectedConditions (it's module name), detect page status (presence/absence of certain elements) and perform conditional actions according to detected page status, and most important of all, code can be refactored to be reused, so one call might replace dozens of clicks
In Beating Averages, famous programmer Paul Graham defined "blob programmer" and programming languages hierarchy. Very enlightening reading.
"There is no silver bullet" (google it). For test automation, you need to become competent programmer. Python is widely considered easiest for beginners, but you still need to invest months (and years) of effort to become competent coder.
One design pattern you need for automated tests is Page Object - page provides "services" for tests and hides the implementation and locators of the widgets, so even if page is redesigned, changes to tests are limited or none.
Also, PhantomJS seems to be abandoned by core developer, recommended alternative is "headless" Chrome. Standard Chrome browser run in "headless" mode, like Google does it.
Re: WebDriver as W3C standard:
W3C suggests standards. Browser providers are expected to implement it. WebDriver (for each browser) is separate software which "drives" company's browser (using all the inside info they have about own browser), so for test using Selenium/WebDriver, all browsers can look/behave the same (WebDriver hides the difference and implements standard interface to perform standardized actions).
Inevitably there would be bugs in specific webdriver implementations, and some more obscure WebDriver commands might be not yet implemented in every browser driver ("there is no silver bullet" yet again), but overall, Selenium WebDriver is excellent solution.