Pre-owned 3DS Buying Guide


Newbie Gamer
Aug 4, 2018
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This is a simple guide on buying pre-owned or second hand Nintendo 3DS

Top Screen (3D Screen)
- Inspect thoroughly. Check for dead pixels and such.
- Observe if flickering in various Brightness levels. Brightness can be changed by going to the Home screen, located at the upper left corner of the lower screen.
- Check 3D effects by sliding the 3D depth slider in various levels.

Bottom Screen (Touch Screen)
- Inspect thoroughly. Check for dead pixels and such.
- Observe if flickering in various Brightness levels.
- Try the touch screen. Touch and slide it multiple times. Check if it’s responsive and accurate. The touch screen can best be tested by using the Game Notes app, located at the upper center of the home screen’s lower screen. Press the yellow pencil icon.

- Check for the system’s version in the System Settings. Look at the lower right part of the upper screen. The last character should be a ‘U’ (ex. Ver. 6.1.0-12U) to confirm that its region is either US or Asian.
- Ask for the system password. It is 4 digits long and can usually be confirmed by attempting to set up a new internet connection via System Settings>Internet Settings.
- Software that comes with every 3DS system are as follows (in any order):
  1. Nintendo 3DS Camera
  2. Nintendo 3DS Sound
  3. Download Play
  4. AR Games
  5. Mii Maker
  6. StreetPass Mii Plaza
  7. Nintendo Zone
  8. System Settings
  9. Activity Log
  10. Nintendo eShop
  11. Face Raiders
  12. Health & Safety Information

- Turn off the unit by pressing the Power button. Open the Memory Card slot located at the right side of the unit’s lower part. Regular 3DS units come with a 2GB SD card while XL units have a 4GB included.

- Speakers can be checked by using any application, but it would be most advisable to play a game/song in Nintendo 3DS Sound for checking.
- It is also advised to bring your own earphones/headset to check if the audio jack (located at the lower center for regular 3DS, lower left for 3DS XL) is working.
- Play with the volume slider (located at the left side of the unit) to ensure that it is functioning well.
- Regular 3DS' speakers are naturally louder than 3DS XL speakers.

- Check microphone sensitivity by going to System Settings>Other Settings>2>Mic Test

- Check all 3 cameras by going to Nintendo 3DS Camera. Press the camera mode in the upper center part of the lower screen to switch between the inner and outer cameras.
- Flip on the 3DS depth slider while checking the cameras to ensure both of the outer cameras are functioning properly.
- Check its AR recognition by using the AR Games application. Simply follow the instructions provided by the system and check if there are any irregularities like unreadable AR cards/etc.

- Physical buttons are best checked by playing a game. In my opinion, Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance and Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater makes effective use of every button, so it is advised if you could check them with these games.
- Do not forget to check the Select, Home, Start and Power buttons at the lower part of the unit.

Circle Pad (Analog Stick)
- This can be tested by going to System Settings>Other Settings>3>Circle Pad. Simply follow the instructions and observe the responsiveness of the Circle Pad from the reaction of the cross in the lower screen.
- Try flicking the Circle Pad a few times and check if the rubber is peeling off.

- An original regular 3DS stylus has a Nintendo logo engraved on its cap or the plastic part while 3DS XL stylus has it on its side.
- 3DS regular styluses are made of metal with plastic parts attached to both of its ends and slides out smoothly to be longer while a 3DS XL's stylus is completely made of plastic and does not slide out to become longer.

Connection (Wifi, Local Play, StreetPass)
- Make sure that the Connection switch is flipped on by checking if there is an orange light at the right side of the unit’s lower part. If there is none, flick the switch once. It should spring back to its original position.
- Go to a Wifi hotspot and proceed with the checking. Go to System Settings>Internet Settings. If asked for a password, enter it and go to Connection Settings>New Connection>Manual Setup>Search for Access Point. Wait for it to load and select the Wifi connection you wish to use. Once done, exit System Settings and go to the Internet Browser located at the upper right corner of the lower screen.

Gyro sensor
- Gyro sensor, which detects the position of the 3DS when you are holding it, can be checked by going to Nintendo 3DS Camera and pressing Down on the Directional Buttons. The colored line in the upper screen should move as you also move the Nintendo 3DS unit.

- There is no way to find out a 3DS’ battery life other than using it. Take note of these if you are unsure of your 3DS’ battery life:

1 Brightness, 3D Disabled = 5-6 hours straight
5 Brightness, 3D Disabled = 4-5 hours straight
5 Brightness, 3D Enabled = 3-4 hours straight
(P.S. These are just estimates by my observations of other 3DS users and my own)
(P.P.S. 3DS XL units usually last up to 30 minutes longer than regular 3DS units)

- Before accepting the unit, try plugging it in to a power outlet to ensure that it charges fine. Most coffee shops have free power outlets.

Miscellaneous Tips:
- If promised a complete package, expect the following:
a. Box
b. 3DS Quick Start Guide
c. 3DS User Manual
d. Charger (110v for US, 220v for Asian)
e. SD Card (2GB for regular, 4GB for XL)
f. Charging Cradle (black plastic peripheral for regular 3DS units only)
g. Club Nintendo codes (160 CN coins for US units only)

- Some cosmetic issues require a discerning eye. It is advised to ask for help from appraisers or people who already own a 3DS.

- It is HIGHLY insisted that you get US or Asian (ASI) versions for your unit, since there are no sellers of Europe/Australian (EU/AU) or Japanese (JP) games here in our country.

- Beware of packages that come with flash carts (R4) or cartridges that play pirated games. Though the 3DS will not be bricked, the flash cart, however, will, and is considered a waste of money/loss of 3DS value. It also hinders the system updates that are regularly provided for all 3DS users, which prevents access to the Nintendo eShop.

- It is advised to check saved data in the 3DS in order to remove unwanted files. Applications with unwanted data are usually found in the following:

a. Nintendo 3DS Camera (unwanted pics)
b. Nintendo 3DS Sound (unwanted songs)
c. Mii Maker (unwanted Miis/avatars)
d. Face Raiders (unwanted faces)
e. Activity Log (irrelevant game data)
f. StreetPass Mii Plaza (unwanted Plaza members)

- Some people might lie about their units’ age. There is a way around if the previous user cannot provide a receipt although it is not 100% guaranteed to be accurate.

Go to Activity Log>Daily Records and click the grid-like icon on the upper left corner of the lower screen until the Monthly data is displayed.

Keep scrolling to the left until you can’t scroll further, and the month displayed will be the month when the 3DS unit was first used.

However, this data can be deleted by performing a System Format, so there is no telling if the data found here is true.