Type on the screen of the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite e-book reader is exceptionally crisp and stands out in unusually sharp contrast to its background, according to our tests. And, true to Amazon's claims, the illumination from the screen's built-in LED lights aid reading in almost all light conditions.
The Paperwhite's screen was only a little more readable than those of some other top-performing readers, most of which (like the Paperwhite) have e-ink screens that yield a better reading experience, at least for e-books, than the LCD screens of tablets and smart phones. And some of the Paperwhite's competitors—including the Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight, which also has LED lights—scored better than the new Amazon model in some tests.
Our Ratings have been updated to include the Paperwhite in both its $180 4G-connected and $120 Wi-Fi-only versions. If you are planning to buy either device as a holiday gift, you might want to order soon; Amazon is currently reporting a 4- to 6-week backlog due to "popular demand."
We've also added the Sony Reader PRS-T2 to our latest e-book reader Ratings. It's a new $130 touchscreen model from a brand that helped pioneer e-books, though it now attracts much less buzz in the category than Amazon and Barnes & Noble models.