On the left you get the volume rocker and on the right are the hardware Lock key and the back key / shutter key combo. The latter is a rocker-styled control where the shutter key is tangibly raised. It can be half-pressed too to handle auto-focus.
All the above-mentioned controls seem quite easy to use in both single and two-handed use scenarios.
A press and hold on the back key launches the Cube menu, while a press and hold on the Cube brings up the Task Switcher. A press and hold on the Lock key is an alternate way to lock the phone - to unlock it, you'd have to press the Lock key, which brings up a screen showing the time and date, and then there's a peg you have to slide to fully unlock the phone.
That's not how the buttons on the right were originally placed - the top key was the back key and the rocker combined the shutter key with the lock key. The top key has the advantage of being easier to press than the top part of the rocker and "back" is used much more often than locking the device.
The new arrangement is not as comfortable but Windows Mobile does give you some tweaking room in customizing which button does what (though you can't change the functionality of the lock key so simply swapping the keys' functions in the Settings is out of the question).
The top houses a 3.5 mm audio jack and a microUSB port that is protected by a cover. The phone charges via the microUSB port, which is quite useful as you can skip the charger when traveling if you have a computer with you.
The 3.5mm audio jack is definitely a nice feature despite lacking a protective cap to hide it from dirt and grime when it's not used. There also used to be a power button on the top of the phone, but now turning it on and off is done by the End key and locking is handled by the dedicated lock key.
The bottom is not very interesting - only the microphone pinhole is there.
The back is rather plain with its simple black plastic - no fancy looking back cover like the one on the Samsung S8000 Jet. The back houses the camera lens and the flash plus the loudspeaker grill, which has a small nub so the speaker isn't muffled when you put the handset flat on a desk.
The 5 megapixel camera lens is unprotected from smudges and scratches as it has only a slightly raised edge surrounding it and the dual-LED flash just below it.
Both the camera and the nub are on one side making the device rock side to side when laid on a flat surface. The lack of stereo speakers is a shame, especially given that otherwise the device is a very capable portable media player.
Under the back cover, you'll find a 1440 mAh battery like the one in the original Samsung Omnia and the SIM card slot as well as the microSD card slot. However, the ample internal storage does go some way to make up for not having the memory card slot placed externally on the device.
The build quality is quite solid. The back cover is not held by any complicated release systems but is still quite stable and there are no audible creaks or unusual sounds. The front buttons don't wobble and have very satisfying feedback.
The Samsung I8000 weighs in at 117 grams and its rounded edges make it seem thinner than it really is. Overall, the top edges of the display may be a little hard to reach if your fingers are not very long, but the device is still reasonably pocketable and perfectly ok to handle.