updated 09:40 am EST, Thu March 3, 2011
Nintendo 3DS torn down by iFixit
The Japanese 3DS was given a teardown in the US on Thursday by iFixit that revealed a very intricate build. Despite having an easily swappable battery and standard Philips screws, Nintendo's system was found very difficult to fix since there were many small parts that could easily break. Ribbon cables were wrapped around the 3DS' inside by robots in a way that a human couldn't easily detach, and many of the connectors use zero insertion force (ZIF) sockets that make it hard to tell if it's plugged in until it's completely reassembled.
Some of the complexity was inherent to the design. The 3D display needs an extra cable for the parallax barrier that produces the glasses-free effect, the repair outfit saw. Shooting 3D appropriately requires two back cameras but also has them joined to the front camera through the same cable, since they all have to be processed by the same chips inside.
Few surprises relate to the chips themselves, although the main processor is Nintendo-badged and doesn't reveal the DMP Maestro Pico 200 graphics key to the 3D and the much improved performance. A Mitsumi chipset is actually an Atheros Wi-Fi chipset.
The teardown group discovered an Easter egg feature in the software before opening the 3DS: any wind-like sound picked up by the microphone, including a compressed air can, will spin the background icons like they're caught up by wind.
American 3DS units should be virtually identical to the Japanese edition save for the English language. They ship on March 27 and should cost $250 in both aqua blue and black.