Marc Newson's design touches make the Pentax K-01 look quite unlike other cameras available at the moment. Whether this look is appealing or not is subjective, but the flat, boxy design feels more brick-like, than like a sophisticated photographic tool in the hand.
A rubber coating has been applied around the front and side of the camera body, which provides a firm grip, although part of this rubber forms a flap that covers the SD card slot, and is prone to flop open if care isn't taken to avoid catching the edge of it.
Many of the buttons for menus and features such as exposure compensation and video recording are laid out in a geometric fashion across the top and down the back of the camera body.
While, for the most part, the arrangement of controls is good, it can be difficult to operate the exposure compensation button without catching the video button, which can result in accidentally recording a short video clip. Also, the green function button is placed so far from the grip that it can be difficult to reach without some finger gymnastics.
The screen is bright and clear and provides wide viewing angles, but the glossy acrylic cover can hamper visibility when viewing the screen from an angle in bright conditions.
Helpfully, the flash unit pops up a fair distance above the camera, which should help to reduce the effects of red-eye in portraits. The articulated mechanism feels very sturdy, too.
In some respects, it can seem like a little too much attention has been paid to aesthetics, rather than ergonomics. However, the body does feel very solidly put together, and the dials on the camera especially have a quality feel to them, producing a good solid click when operated.
The same 1860mAh D-Li90 battery found in the Pentax K-5 DSLR powers the Pentax K-01. This chunky battery should provide most users with more than enough power for a lengthy photography session, since after taking over 200 shots and a few short video clips during testing, the camera still showed a full charge.
For a mirrorless camera, the Pentax K-01 certainly isn't compact, when compared to Micro Four Thirds and even Sony NEX cameras, and is also relatively heavy, weighing 560g with the battery and memory card installed.
The Pentax K-01 ships with a 40mm pancake lens, which is currently the thinnest lens of its type available, and does shave a fair chuck off the overall size of the camera. Kits with an 18-55mm and 55-200mm zoom are also available.