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Nintendo 3DS Gets the Teardown Treatment

Here’s Nintendo’s latest DS, the 3DS, in all its torn-down glory:

Of course, this is a little more interesting than your average smartphone or tablet teardown, because the 3DS boasts that glasses-less 3D display. In case the explanation of how it all works has slipped your mind, it’s a parallax barrier that contains a 'switching LCD' that allows for both 2D and 3D imaging. When this switching LCD is switched off, the LCD displays 2D imaging as normal, but when the parallax barrier is switched on, light leaves the display in a different way, meaning different patterns of light reach the left and right eye.

Aside from the display, there was a few noteworthy discoveries in the disassembly, including an entire back cover that comes off in one piece (rather than having a small door to access the battery). iFixit also found a a 3.7V, 1300mAh, 5Wh Li-Ion battery, which provides just 3-5 hours of gaming (5-8 with normal DS games). This is due to reported faster processor, dual LCD elements in the top display (to control the parallax effect), and more hardware intensive programs. They also happened by a fun little feature by accident:

"We found an interesting little feature of the 3DS by accident while blowing away some dust with canned air," they said in an email. "External mics on the 3DS pick up the characteristic noise of wind blowing by the device and spin the live icons in the background of each menu as if they were in a tornado."

Also in the pile of parts after the teardown was an IR port, a pretty thick digitizer thanks to the fact that it has stylus-input, a front panel that was on top of the bezel to hide the screws (this took a lot to remove), and three cameras that were connected via one ribbon cable.

Check out iFixit for the full gallery and more on the teardown process!