Like many dSLRs that have to remain backward-compatible with older lenses, the A500 has a Manual/autofocus switch on the body that you confusingly have to remember to match with the switch on the lens.
Like the navigation switch, the buttons are flat with little tactile feedback. While not as flexible a design as a flip-and-twist articulated LCD, Sony's tiltable displays are nice for shooting at odd angles.
On the lower-end models, Sony puts controls for the ISO sensitivity and drive modes on the navigation switch on the back of the camera. I think that placement works better than the three, hard-to-differentiate buttons on the top of this one. It's also annoying that in a camera of this class that you have to set the ISO sensitivity via the back display--it doesn't appear in the viewfinder. Usually on dSLRs with buttons on the top right, they're placed forward enough to easily and comfortably reach with your forefinger. On the A500, they're set closer to the camera back where you can't comfortably reach them with either your thumb or forefinger unless you lower the camera.