If you've handled the Pentax K-m the K-x will feel familiar as soon as you pick it up. It's solidly-built and arguably more comfortable than the Canon 500D.
The grip is larger, which makes it easier for those with big hands to keep hold of. It's certainly more comfortable than cameras such as the Olympus E-450. Only the front grip is rubber-coated, but we didn't feel in danger of dropping the K-x during testing.
The controls all fall neatly to hand and the control wheel and power switch both turn with a satisfying click. The shutter has been rated by Pentax to 100,000 actuations, and overall the camera feels like it should take its fair share of knocks. The flash is electronically activated via a button on the left hand shoulder.
The menu system looks very basic compared to either Canon or Nikon's. The font is blocky and in terms of navigation the K-x falls behind. The quibbles are largely aesthetic, though, and after a while we were happy that we could get to the K-x's main features.
The four-way directional pad at the lower right of the body doubles as a set of shortcut keys. Pushing Up gets you to the timer and continuous shooting modes, while Right allows you to set the ISO and so on. It's a handy way of compensating for the relatively - if unsurprisingly - low number of controls on the body itself.