When the press embargo for the Kindle Paperwhite lifted on Sunday night, seemingly everyone in the tech blogosphere seemed to sing its praises in unison. The new e-reader, now at the bottom end of Amazon's lineup of devices, just got a pretty noticeable facelift with a new front-lit screen, a thinner profile and faster performance. Based on the tone of the reviews, though, this thing might as well be made out of chocolate-covered diamonds, it's so stunning.
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If you listen to the tech bloggers, you won't even think about buying another e-reader. TechCrunch's John Biggs called the Kindle Paperwhite "a reader's dream" and said he was "wildly impressed with the simplicity and beauty of this device." Gizmodo really swung for the fences. Giving it an overall score of 9 out of 10, The Verge's Joshua Topolsky raved about the screen, "one of the best E Ink displays on the market," and said that Amazon "just took the game to a whole new level" with the Paperwhite. GigaOm's Laura Hazard Own raved about the quicker processor and the adjustable lighting on the brand new bright, white screen. Gizmodo's Kyle Wagner really swung for the fences and said without delay that the Kindle Paperwhite "is the best ereader you can buy."
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What's all the fuss about? Well, everyone seems to agree that the new screen is just terrific to look at, and Amazon's front-lighting set up works really well. Beyond that, it feel nice in your hands with its soft touch paint finish and light weight of only 7.5 ounces. The battery life is longer. With fewer buttons and more touchscreen capabilities, it's sleeker. Amazon also made an iPad Smart Case-like leather cover that uses magnets to turn the display on when you open it up. And with prices starting at $119, it's really affordable.
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More broadly speaking, the enthusiastic reception of Amazon's latest gadget bodes well for the company's credibility as a hardware producer. With the bestselling e-readers and a tablet lineup that can compete with the iPad, Amazon is becoming a serious contender in the marketplace, and it's showing everyone that it can undercut competitors prices but still produce impressive devices. Now, we all get to sit back and see if they've got the gall to take on the iPhone.