From what I remember, the sorcerer and the wizard varied in that the sorcerer was more of a cannon, and the wizard was more of a swiss-army knife.
The wizard had a lot of combat spells that they could collect, sure, but they were also more of a utility person. Need someone teleported? Need a curse broken? Need to switch planes? You want to have a wizard available.
However, I've been in many games where you simply didn't need any of that stuff, and in a PHB-only game, sorcerers will probably have enough spell options to pick up everything necessary at any given time, if a bit behind schedule of the wizard.
I was originally thinking sorcerer but I'd love to try a paladin again. It's one of the few things that I prefer how 3e did it to 4e.