Our test unit arrived in matte black, with a blue band dividing the face of the phone from the section housing the QWERTY keyboard and the battery. The black surfaces have a finish that feels good in the hand, sort of a rubberized silky texture which seems to hold up fairly well to everyday wear and tear. The matte finish seems impervious to fingerprints and no scratches were apparent after our time with the handset. You would be forgiven for mistaking the Rumor for a rather large candy bar phone, as that is exactly what it looks like when the QWERTY text messaging keyboard is retracted. Exterior dimensions add up to a slightly chunky 109.5mm x 63mm x 18mm (4.3" x 2.0"x 0.7") and it weighs in at 116g (4.1 ounces). The Rumor is a little larger than I would like, but quite honestly I didn't care because its slightly above average size and weight yield a nice chunk of extra usability.
As I previously mentioned, the phone is set out in the traditional candy bar format and as such has the usual array of numeric keys, soft keys below the display, and a D-pad. You also get dedicated speakerphone and "back" keys for speedy navigation. There are two more soft keys on the right side of the display which come into use when the QWERTY keyboard is extended and the display shifts into landscape mode. Additional buttons on the left side of the phone are the up and down volume keys and the shutter button for the camera, which is rather poorly placed.
The QWERTY keyboard slides out to the right and in doing so launches the phone into messaging mode, shifting the display orientation. The slide mechanism feels solid and springs open firmly. All the keys on the phone are nicely backlit. Those on the numeric keypad are illuminated in a vivid blue, while those on the QWERTY keyboard are thoughtfully done in white. This is important, as although the blue would look cool, it's also a bit tougher for the eye to focus on and therefore tends to be fatiguing.