Actually, I don't think it's that bad. You can change the squelch fairly easily by pressing the F/W key and then pressing zero. The squelch menu will pop up and then you can use the dial to adjust the squelch level. Just push PTT to confirm your selection.
As far as switching between bands...that's pretty easy, too. There's a "band" button located directly under the F/W button. Just press that to switch between bands.
I've found the manual (and the radio) to be more intimidating than it really is. In other words, it's bark is worse than it's bite. You'll get the hang of it.
I do have a few complaints about the VX-5RS...the keypad is a little small, but hey...it's a handheld, right?
The belt clip is pretty much useless and the Speaker/mic (not included) has a "kid's toy" feel to it...But it works.
The battery lasts awhile though! That's always a plus!
I would suggest getting the ADMS software, too. You can program the radio through your comupter. The cable is included with the software. You have all the radio's options in front of you, you can program your favorite frequencies in the memory and more.
Read some of the reviews here on eHam. There's quite a few of them...more good than bad.