(MSNBC) -- Amazon's new "Paperwhite" Kindle will be easier to read, using a display that offers a clearer screen and higher resolution. "It's really so much sharper," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told a crowd of reporters in Santa Monica Thursday.
The Kindle Paperwhite, in two versions, one at $119 with Wi-Fi only, and another at $179 with Amazon's Whispersync 3G and Wi-Fi, will ship Oct. 1, with orders starting immediately. The e-readers weigh 7.5 ounces and are thin at 9.1 mm. The current iPad model is 9.4 mm.
"I love the light! It doesn't jump out at you. It doesn't cause any eye strain, it doesn't even leave the screen," enthused Bezos at the event.
The screen offers 25 percent more contrast than previous Kindles, Amazon said. "Whites are whiter, blacks are blacker," with 62 percent more pixels at 212 pixels per inch. It also offers an impressive 8 weeks of battery life, even with the light on, Bezos said.
"When we set out to build this Paperwhite display, it didn't exist. So we had to build it," Bezos said.
A low-end Kindle will sell for $69 — $10 less than the current lowest-priced Kindle — and ship starting Sept. 14, with orders starting right away. That e-reader will have faster page turns, new fonts and crisper text, Amazon said.