Nintendo 3DS Teardown: A Thorough Shakedown

We know that many of you cannot wait to get your hands on the Nintendo 3DS gaming console but although the device is already out in Japan it will not be released in the UK until March 25 and in the US that’s March 27. We’ve already shown you a Nintendo 3DS unboxing and gave news that in Japan a 3DS has already been hacked using an R4 card. Now we have a real treat for you to keep you going and that’s news of a Nintendo 3DS teardown.

This comes to us courtesy of the iFixit team, which has passed on details of the latest teardown to us again. Recently we also published articles on their Motorola Xoom teardown and also a teardown of the new MacBook Pro 15-inch. As usual with teardown articles we don’t recommend you have a go at this yourselves but it’s certainly fascinating to get a really good look inside these new devices.

The iFixit team wondered how much the new 3D screen has changed the internals and then started the intricate process of disassembly. The first thing noted was the high-quality feel of the device and when compared with the Nintendo DSi XL, it was noted to be smaller but thicker in size with the charging port moved to the right and contacts added, assumed to be for the charging cradle.

It was found that the top display produces 3D images by using parallax. Adjustments to the 3D slider creates a response in the top LCD and once looked at from the correct distance the 3D image can be seen. An interesting note here is that out of about 10 iFixit staff that took a look 1 of the team could not see a 3D image, merely noting that it looked different.

After this the back cover is taken off the device and this comes off in one entire piece which may mean replacing a battery takes longer but does give the reverse of the unit a clean finish. The teardown goes on to look at the battery (which unfortunately appears to be one of the weaknesses as the charge doesn’t last long), and the stylus. Then we get a look at the motherboard and components and among many other things a listing of all the internal chips. The deconstruction then continues and looks at the speakers, the upper LCD display and Wi-Fi antenna but it’s here the process gets difficult thanks to the ribbon cables which require painstaking threading.

Ultimately the Nintendo 3DS is given a repairability factor of 5 out of 10 which is not that great and this is down to the intricate way the top display cables are routed which can be easily broken, and the myriad of small components which could be easily mislaid. Another factor which gives the low score repairability is that the headphone jack and charging connector happen to be soldered to the motherboard.

For full details and step-by-step photographs following the teardown in all its glory hit the iFixit link above. What are your thoughts on the Nintendo 3DS teardown? You’re probably not too worried that it has a low-repairability score as you’re not intending to take it apart yourself….are you? Let us know with your comments.