Now you really can read anywhere, worry free.

With Amazon’s new waterproof Kindle Paperwhite, the company that made their e-reader so ubiquitous “Kindle” has become the way we refer to nearly all e-readers can finally declare victory against their one true competitor.

Themselves.

Lighter than a Paperback

The new Kindle Paperwhite is an impressive leap in technology over the previous device. With an all-new flush-front design and case materials that are soft and grippable, it’s even easier to hold for extended reading sessions. It’s thinner than its predecessor at 8.18mm thick and weighing only 182g. It’s just a little bit smaller as well, making it all that much easier to toss into your bag as you head to the pool or beach.

Tougher than Tolstoy

No. Really. They mean it.

You can leave your Ziplocs at home as well because the new Kindle Paperwhite is waterproof up to 2 meters for 60 minutes in fresh water. Salt water should be OK too…just make sure you rinse your Kindle off as soon as you can. And with the lip around the Kindle’s screen eliminated, there’s no place for sand or dirt to accumulate.

You won’t have to strain your eyes either to see the screen, even in full sun. The new Paperwhite has the same 300 ppi display as the Kindle Oasis, with five LEDs and an adjustable front light.

Undercutting the Competition

Speaking of the Oasis, you’re not imagining things, this new Paperwhite is essentially an Oasis in shabby chic clothing. The screen has the same resolution (though the Oasis’ is 1″ larger). The internal storage is the same (either 8GB or 32GB). They both have bluetooth connectivity to pair with headphones or speakers for audiobooks. Both have cellular options available. They’re both waterproof. The biggest hardware differences are the number of LEDs (the Oasis has 12) and the page-turn buttons on the Oasis.

The real significant difference between the two devices is the price.

At $129, the new Kindle Paperwhite is nearly half the price of the Oasis, with practically the exact same functionality. You’re essentially paying $120 more for 1″ of screen, a bit of extra brightness, and two buttons.

You could even throw on a snorkel and read underwater.

But what about the $79 base-model Kindle? Does the new Kindle Paperwhite beat that as well?

Where even the most dedicated reader struggled to justify spending the $249 premium for the waterproof Kindle Oasis, anyone shopping for an e-reader this holiday season will almost certainly be able to make the case for upgrading from a Kindle to the Kindle Paperwhite. The screen has double the resolution and is more easily readable in every lighting condition. It has more storage, cellular connectivity, and is now waterproof. That’s most certainly worth an extra $50.

I’m excited that Amazon is finally bringing the luxury reading experience of the Kindle Oasis to a more accessible price point .

Just In Time For the Holidays

The new Kindle Paperwhite is available for pre-order for $129 right now on Amazon. It ships on November 7 (along with a number of new cases, both waterproof and non-).

If you decide not to pre-order, keep an eye on those Black Friday deals next month. If you’re in the market for an e-reader, this is the only one you need to be watching.

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