This is a complex question. Albeit, there are no easy answers.
First, Nikon wanted to do something different that didn't involve placing the 16MP FX sensor in their $6k flagship into a a sub $3k DSLR. They learned better from the D700. Secondly, get over the D700. It's a has-been and the ISO capabilities are VASTLY overrated -- especially for such a LOW MP count on a FF sensor. I had one. I sold for the 5d2, which offered WAY more bang for the buck -- build quality and AF aside.
Third, Nikon obviously felt the D600/D610 has a bad rep so they had to release another form factor -- again, that was not built like the D800 with the $6k 16MP sensor. SO......they cut corners and cut features. As we all know, you get the same sensor in the Df as the flagship D4(s)....and as we all know the price will drop faster than a loaded missle. In a year, they will be available for the same price as the D600/610 IMHO. The Df may LOOK cheaply made, but I'm sure it's high quality. As far as the dials, again, they had to do SOMETHING different so that their FX lineup would not be a homogenous cluster-f#ck. I applaud them for taking a chance. Something very few companies do these days. Nintendo comes to mind in this regard.
The dials are useful for people learning photography because, frankly, it's easy to set a DSLR on P mode and let the processor do the rest. I'm guilty of it....and my knowledge of photography has been stunted because of this. The one SD card is shameful I will gladly admit, as is the AF system, for this price. But I'm sure for the right situation this DSLR will prove more than adequate given its specs. Lastly, again guys, please lay the D700 argument to rest. It's an outdated design and highly overrated. There are PLENTY on the market so go buy 2-3 if you'd like. But know that you'll never squeeze more than 12 MP out of it. Ever.