The landing gear can be useful in helping to slow down when you don't want to use the spoilers. However, usually I lower the gear in the 777 at around 2300ft AGL on finals. We cannot lower flap 30 until the gear is down otherwise we get a warning. In order to have Flaps 30 and landing checkilst complete at around 1500 (1000 latest) I lower the gear at around 2300. On some days however, in a heavy -300, without the gear the speed increases as we go down the glideslope, even with thrust at nearly idle. Putting Flaps 20 out early may not be enough to slow the speed so the gear goes out earlier than I would normally do it.
In some places like Tokyo Narita's Runway 34 approach, you are required to put the gear out very early (Over the sea), to prevent blocks of ice from falling down on houses. Not sure how much of a problem this really is, but the approach plate says to do it, so we do.