Definitely. It's not the screen that needs protecting these days it's the rest of the casing I'm usually worried about!
Personally I prefer to play on original hardware rather than emulation (it's a bit like the old CD vs vinyl debate!) That's not to say emulation isn't great in a lot of circumstances, but I tend to prefer the real hardware. Timing is one thing I often notice is inaccurate or erratic in emulated games, my favourite example being Samus' wall kick in Super Metroid, which I often use as a quick acid test of a SNES emulator.
I've put together a collection of various JAMMA games that are favourites of mine and use a Supergun to play them. While it's a bit of a pain swapping delicate boards (the encased boards of the CPS1 Q-sound era onwards are a godsend), it's great to be able to play the original hardware. Obviously certain early non-JAMMA games need extra wiring to work, but it can be worth the effort if you're into this sort of hobby.
Yeah I've found the decals on VAIOs rub off just by looking at them. I think within 6 weeks my last VAIO had lost all the labels for the ports on the sides, and all I'd done with the laptop was pick it up from one place and put it down in another. Several of the keys had lost parts of the letters too. The wrist guards also tend to show rub marks and wear after about 12 months too.
VAIOs look lovely on display in the Sony Centre, but give it a few months and they start to look quite ratty. For the price premium I would expect something that is designed to withstand normal usage a bit more robustly. Although I'm sure people wouldn't buy replacements as often if their old laptop still looked pristine!