You have plenty of options. Different ships excell in different fields. Astero doesn’t do all things better than others. But overall, when you consider different aspects, it is the king of exploration frigates in terms of general performance and survailability. For wormhole exploration I would definitely prefer Astero. For Null sec and Low sec, cov-ops are not bad. Wall of text could be written on this topic and you will likely find many information in older posts.
If you are keen on cov-ops though, then you may try Helios, which is better than Cheetah for exploration (you will get align under 3, have the same amount of mid slots as Buzzard, but have only 2 high slots, which doesn’t matter for hacking sites).
Once you end up in a bubble after jumping gate with people chasing you, then you want to be in Astero instead of in cov-ops frig. Standard explo Astero can get a little under 5000m/s on overheated MWD, add cov-ops cloak to it and extreme agility with very low mass. Result is insane survailability. Yet very decent scanning performance, which can be enhanced by mods.
Astero is life.