We come today to praise the Nintendo 3DS, not to bury it.
For while Nintendo has discontinued the 3DS and labeled all of its 2D and 3D siblings as “out of production,” the handheld has lots of great games, plenty of fans, and, wouldn’t you know it, a whole bunch of repair guides. We’ve got tested and warranty-backed parts for the 3DS, 3DS XL, and 2015 version of the 3DS XL, so you can keep your soon-to-be-a-collector’s-item handheld in top shape for years to come. And, as with most tried-and-true game consoles, you can find “parts only” models of 3DS/2DS consoles in many online marketplaces, if you’re ready for some low-key adventure.
We tore down the Japanese model of the 3DS in early 2011, before the U.S. version arrived. Reading through it now, you might miss just how many new things Nintendo had jammed into a somewhat familiar DS form. The 3DS was, at that point, “the most camera-laden device we’ve ever taken apart.” Ah, sweet summer children, not yet tasted the hardships of a Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G. There was an infrared port, which we guessed would be used for close-ranged DS-to-DS communication (and we were right!) There was even a sensor that would show a little tornado on the screen if it detected wind blowing across the unit—something we discovered by accident with some canned air.
Nintendo handheld device released February 2011, identified by model number CTR-001.View Device
Up to a certain point, the 3DS was fairly repairable with common tools, but if you need to get into the upper display or cameras, there are confounding cables, routed in such a way as to really tie up your afternoon. Overall, though, you can get at the battery, buttons, and pads pretty easily, and they’re the most likely to wear out. We gave the original 3DS a 5/10 for a repairability score.
If you’ve managed to keep your 2/3DS alive all this time for monster hunting, Pokemon-catching, or other adventures, let us know! We’d love to celebrate your win with you, in the comments on this post, or on social media at @ifixit.