While the PSVita and the Nintendo 3DS are both portables of the latest generation which have a similar retail price, the story on the used market is somewhat different. As a result, it’s possible to get a used 3DS for as low as $30-40 on eBay while most used PSVita consoles go for around $100!
A used 3DS for $30-40? How is this possible?
Example of 3DS listings that ended for low prices. Note the ‘x’ markers which you should keep an eye out for!
Initially, the low prices of some used 3DS console listings came as a bit of a surprise to myself as I was not aware that prices of used current-generation (albeit quite late in its life) hardware have dropped so much. However, it must be noted that not all listings have such low prices and the vast majority of the low price 3DS (or even 3DS XL) listings are auctions.
These auctions, predominantly from Japan, are numerous and usually end in the $20-35 range and have shipping costs of $7 to Europe/North America. Thankfully, winning such an auction isn’t too difficult as many of these auctions end up with 1-2 bids and the price rarely becomes high but care must still be taken since exchange rates and shipping costs might drive up the price without you immediately noticing.
Is there anything I should look out for/avoid?
As usual, buying used hardware has its own risks but I feel that these auctions have quite a few more things to look out for. These things include:
A considerable amount of auction listings have an ‘X’ in the description
This means that the console has some type of defect so you must carefully check what’s wrong and whether you can fix it on your own.
Such defects range from the inability to output sound, broken buttons, screen defects and cracked plastic among other things.
Extra care should be taken when looking at low-price 3DS XL/LL listings as these almost always have considerable defects
Some listings have JUNK in the title which obviously means that you shouldn’t expect a working console
Even if you’re not the biggest fan of 3DS games, the 3DS can natively play DS games and it has a large amount of emulators ranging from DosBox to mGBA!
While it may not be considered as a defect, some 3DS listings have the rubber on the analogue stick (circle pad) torn off so you should look at pictures and read the description before attempting to bid/buy such a console
As these consoles come from Japan, they are region locked and can only play Japanese games
However, there are means and ways to bypass this by hacking your 3DS
All the listings of low-priced 3DS consoles I’ve seen do not disclose the system version
That being said, even the latest firmware (11.9.0) has a hack available for it (Seedminer) which lets you install Luma3DS
As the 3DS contains lithium-ion batteries, importing them to some countries like Italy, France and Germany might cause problems.
Some sellers may cancel orders to some countries if they have strict regulation about lithium-ion battery importation and grant the buyer a full refund
While it may sound pretty obvious, you should check out the prices of 3DS consoles in the local used market before bidding on one online!
As usual, always be careful when going down the used road since battery life might not be great and your device might not last too long. However, if problems crop up from day one, you can always file buyer protection claims on eBay asking for a refund so there is some sort of safeguard in place.
On a personal note, I bought a used 3DS for around €32 off eBay and I’m currently waiting for it to be shipped so a follow-up article on this subject may crop up detailing my experience 😉
DISCLAIMER: Neither I nor Wololo.net have anything to do with the eBay sellers that are selling these consoles or assume responsibility if you decide to purchase a used console from the listings described above. This article has only been written with the aim of informing people about the current market situation when it comes to the 3DS.
I'm a girl that's liked technology from day 1. Mostly interested in the PSVita/PSP scene but I've always modded my stuff when it's possible, that is :)Contact me via DM at @KawaiiAuroraA on Twitter if you have any questions/concerns about my articles or if you have any article requests.