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In an otb game I would not like my opponent to match the moves on a pocket set (not sure why - distracting maybe) but I don't feel the same about live chess played via a pc. If an opponent needs to see three dimentional pieces (or touch real pieces like the op) that seems OK to me.
Maybe there would be a temptation to try out a move or two but I don't think that would stop me agreeing if an opponent said before a game that they liked to have pieces set up beside the screen.