The Pentax Optio VS20's build is the usual plastic and metal mix, with a gentle curve to one side of the faceplate providing a sort of grip, and a rubber patch that curves around the camera's opposite edge providing another.
While the black finish to the faceplate of our review sample lends it a cool sophistication, the grey plastic at the rear more obviously suggests a budget model.
Likewise the pared-back control layout; we get a dedicated video record button, separate playback button, familiar four-direction control pad for tabbing through shooting icons and menu settings with a central 'OK' button for effecting changes, plus a menu and dual-use delete/easy mode buttons.
A press of the latter enlarges the screen icons, for example.
But let's turn our attention to taking a photo. On a pro-level DSLR, a doubling up of key controls makes sense because of the bulk, especially when adding a battery grip at the base of an already chunky body.
Having a second shutter release button on a DSLR prevents an awkward stretch for your digits when turning the camera on its side to shoot in portrait fashion.
But on an auto-everything pocket snapshot camera such as the Pentax Optio VS20, two sets of controls come across as funny rather than a functional necessity.
The controls at the side are unnecessary on a camera of this size, and indeed when we did try to use the camera up-ended, forefinger pressed against the secondary shutter release, we found our little finger waggling around in the way of the lens, because there's no vertical grip.