Nice pic and nice notebook.
I've mentioned the Japanese version of this a few times before, it was near the top of my list for a while. In Japan it's the LaVie RX. The SXGA+ combined with the 9600 in this weight class make it very attractive. The new Sony S170 is the closest thing we have in the US now. Like the S series it also doesn't have S-video out though, which is a minor flaw, but it's a feature that I definitely use. This model has been out quite a while now and I keep checking their site to see if they'll do an update (128MB 9600 or 64/128MB 9700), but the specs are still the same.
The optical bay is modular and can also take a second battery or a weight saver. The bay battery combined with the standard can give up to 7hrs of battery life.
I'm still not sure what material it's made of. I think it has a special coating on the outside.
I think NEC stopped selling real notebooks in the US a while ago, but they're a strong PC and notebook brand in Japan and other markets.Photo Gallery
(Flash)LaVie RX Japanese siteASCII24 review
(Japanese)Digital Arena Review
The first review mentions that the keyboard has an unusual feel (a lack of feedback) and the machine tends to run hot, especially during gaming.