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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Integrated light

Capacitive touch screen, redesigned user interface

Improved resolution

Slimmer design

Back side

At first glance, Amazon's new Kindle Paperwhite e-ink e-reader looks a lot like last year's Kindle Touch. That's because aside from the missing physical home button, the chassis is mostly the same -- and the two devices actually both weigh 7.5 ounces.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
But turn the Paperwhite on and you'll see some key differences. For starters, the Paperwhite has that integrated light that Kindle aficionados have been waiting for.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
It also has a capacitive touch screen rather than the IR-based touch screen found on competing touch-screen models from Barnes & Noble, Sony, and Kobo.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
And finally, that screen is a higher-resolution 1,024x768-pixel display with 212ppi that allows text and images to be rendered more crisply (images also appear more detailed).
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
Look closely and you'll see that by moving to a capacitive touch screen, Amazon's designers were able to shave some thickness off the bezel (the IR transmitters that measure your finger taps on the screen were built into the bezel on the Touch), making the Paperwhite slightly thinner than the Touch. Amazon says the bezel is 77 percent shorter (that helps reduce the small shadow the raised bezel casts).
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
As with all these devices, I need to play around with the Paperwhite for a while to uncover any potential flaws or bugs (Amazon and other companies always release firmware upgrades for their devices that improve performance and add features). But my initial impression is that this is a big step forward for the Kindle e-ink line. Though it may not be a quantum jump, this is the Kindle a lot of people have been waiting for and they should be impressed by it.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
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