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Kindle Paperwhite arrives. Should you check out Amazon's new e-reader?

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(Read caption) Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos holds up a Kindle Paperwhite during Amazon's Kindle event in California last month. The Paperwhite ships this week.

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Amazon this week began shipping its Kindle Paperwhite e-reader, a backlit device similar to the Barnes and Noble Glowlight. The Paperwhite comes in two editions: A 3G version for $179 and a Wi-Fi version for $119. Amazon says each Paperwhite can hold up to 1,100 books, and last more than 8 weeks on a single battery charge, even with the light on. Not bad. 

And for the most part, critics love this thing. "The Kindle Paperwhite is a pivotal step forward for the technology of e-readers," writes Kyle Wagner, in an effusive review over at Gizmodo. "It makes previous generations feel like a pulpy paperback held up next to an ornately illustrated tome. In short: this is the best ereader you can buy."

Disclaimer: We own a Barnes and Noble Nook Glowlight. We like it a lot. Reading on a tablet for long periods of time often strains our eyes, but the backlit screen on the Nook doesn't bother us, even after two or more hours of reading. So how does the Paperwhite stack up with the Glowlight – until recently the reigning glow-in-the-dark e-reader? Well, PC Magazine's Jamie Lendino gives the edge to the Paperwhite. 

"When placed side-by-side, the Kindle Paperwhite display is brighter and more even than the Nook Simple Touch With Glowlight's screen," Lendino writes. "Our camera analyst, Jim Fisher, shot each screen with a Nikon D600 which was set to spot meter on each reader's gray background. With ISO and aperture fixed, the shutter speed difference was 20 percent, with the Kindle winning out with the brighter screen."

It's worth noting that both the Paperwhite and Glowlight are priced at $119. (Barnes and Noble initially sold the Glowlight for more than that, but dropped the price this week to match Amazon.) But there's a caveat: The $119 Wi-Fi Paperwhite will show you advertisements. You'll have to pay $139 for a Paperwhite "without special offers," as Amazon phrases it. 

Planning on picking up a Kindle Paperwhite e-reader? Drop us a line in the comments section. And to receive regular updates on how technology intersects daily life, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

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