My experience is the opposite of yours.
Many years ago, I preferred the plain matte focusing screen. However, when my eyesight changed, I discovered that I had a hard time focusing with the plain screen. I then had to change to a screen with a focusing aid. The split image focusing aid worked best for me.
I recently purchased an auto focus camera that came with a plain screen and an electronic focusing aid. In some lighting situations, using the screen alone makes it impossible for me to obtain an accurate focus with my manual focus lenses. If I am shooting a moving subject, using the electronic focusing aid is too slow. Therefore, I just ordered a screen with a split image to replace the one that came with the camera.