Thursday, 1 December 2016

Portable North Pole Magic Pass - Why it's Worth Getting

Every year we try to look for new Christmas traditions to add to what we are doing already, to make Christmas extra special. After all, kids won't stay as kids forever, and we'd like to try to make their childhood as memorable as we can.

I was recently introduced to a service called Portable North Pole (PNP), where children can receive videos and calls from Santa. The quality of the videos, from props and actors to the resolution of the video itself is really impressive, and it brought a smile to me and hubby's faces. The more we explore their services (premium and the free ones too), the more we are impressed with them. So I was glad to have signed up for reviewing the PNP Magic Pass (that unlocks all their services), as it's definitely a service I'd like to use over and over again!

Make Christmas special, Portable North Pole, Message from Santa

Portable North Pole (PNP) offers 3 videos from Santa for free, including a greeting from Santa to children, one for the adults, and birthday wishes from Santa, which can be used on any day in the year (not just for those who have their birthday during Christmas time). Each of the videos can be personalised to certain extend, and the video quality, as pointed out above, is superb.

Make Christmas special, Portable North Pole, Message from Santa

Other free PNP services include the mobile app for iOS and Android (see more below), and the Santa's Village, with lots of activities, bed time stories etc for children to explore.

BUT. If you also want:

unlimited phone calls from Santa with plenty of fun scenario choices

- unlimited premium videos with plenty of video choices, which you can personalise further to make them even more realistic, and also come with Santa's verdict (whether the child is on Santa's naughty, nice or almost nice list)

- Reaction Recorder to record your child's reaction while watching the video

- HD downloads of all your videos (including the reaction recorded ones)

- Santa-Approved Certificate to print for each of your video

Story telling by Santa each week in December

then you should definitely consider buying PNP's Magic Pass, which is £9.99 (expires 1st October 2017 so you can use the services throughout the year), and I think it's really worth getting. Let me show you why:

Unlimited Phone Calls from Santa:

Make Christmas special, Portable North Pole, Message from Santa

There are a lot of scenarios to choose from for phone calls, and by putting in your phone number, Santa will actually ring you! Unlike recorded messages you hear from a call centre, Santa's phone calls are loud and clear (I tested this myself). Personally I would want to keep contact with Santa to the minimum to keep it special, but if it helps with good behaviour, an occasional call during the year might just do the trick. And I'm sure that the idea of me contacting Santa will keep them good for the other days!

Unlimited Premium Videos from Santa:

Make Christmas special, Portable North Pole, Message from Santa
Example of a free video

Make Christmas special, Portable North Pole, Message from Santa
Example of a premium video

Make Christmas special, Portable North Pole, Message from Santa
Last 3 pictures are of the premium video. Do they look just a bit sharper?
To test the videos out, I created one for each child. The first one I did appeared to be the free version, and the second one was one of the premium ones. I actually didn't pay attention about whether it was free or premium (you get them all with the Magic Pass), but I did notice that the premium video took me longer to personalise. There was more things to include, even the gift Clay wants and a picture of our house. I especially like the Santa's verdict, and although it felt a bit harsh to show Clay that he's not on Santa's Nice list YET, I hope it serves as a motivation for him to get on with tidying up his toys!

Oh, and I should also mention about the name pronouncing! After you typed in a name, you can hear whether Santa pronounce it correctly. The list of name is impressive, so unless you have an extremely unique name like "@", Santa should be able to pronounce it. PNP service comes in different languages as well, I wonder if it covers names from those countries too in their language?

This might just be me, but I also noticed that the quality of the premium video seemed a bit sharper than the free video. I can't be sure about this though. The last 3 pictures above are from the premium video, what do you think?

I found that, from the kids' reactions, the longer video with more personalisation is definitely more convincing. Clay was still giddy at the beginning of the premium video, but later on he started responding to Santa's questions (yes/ no ones. They are very careful with their dialog)! Even Abby was convinced towards the end (she suspected that I did the videos at first haha).

Due to a very naughty Abby on the day I showed them the videos, I showed Clay his first, and Abby was a bit disappointed that Santa's message to her was comparatively short (he did say he had to take his reindeer out for a ride) and he never gave her his verdict (so I had to tell her that maybe he wasn't happy with what she did that day as well). You can tell that Abby was extremely uncomfortable when I played the video for her, just like a very naughty child would (eyes dashing everywhere, body turning towards me seeking for comfort, etc)! I hope she will be good from then on!

The kids will probably be disappointed when they found out that I had my hands on this. I hope they can understand that I'm just trying to make magic even more magical for them. I'm sure when I show this again to them years later, including their reactions to the videos, they will appreciate the preserved memories. And with the PNP's Magic Pass, recording their reactions can't be easier. You just need to download the free mobile app, and show the kids the video with it.

Free Mobile App and Reaction Recorder:

Make Christmas special, Portable North Pole, Message from Santa

Make Christmas special, Portable North Pole, Message from Santa
Make Christmas special, Portable North Pole, Message from Santa

The PNP mobile app has a Kids Corner, where kids can replay Santa's messages to them, and a Parents Corner, which allow you to do basically everything that you can on PNP's website. The Parents Corner can be accessed from the Kids Corner, but it can be password protected so that children won't be able to access it.

There are games for the kids to play as well in the Kids Corner, which will provide plenty of Christmas fun for them.

The Reaction Recorder is a new feature this year, and it allows you to record children's reaction when they watch Santa's message for the first time. It is done in the Parents Corner, so you kind of need to time it right (it stops recording when PNP's logo finished showing at the end) so that the kids won't see your dashboard!

The recorded reaction and video will be saved as a separate video in your My Creations folder, and you have a choice of showing this (and any other videos) to the children by making it visible in the Kids Corner (under Santa's Messages). You can also download each video in HD quality onto your device to keep.

I decided not to upload ours here as it recorded me telling Abby off (oops), but you can see the screen captures above. The quality is quite good, but I believe that it is also down to your front camera's resolution. Just make sure that it's bright enough (although don't face it directly at a light like I did) and the camera faces your child correctly.

Parents have an option to download a Santa-Approved Certificate, which says that your child has made it onto Santa's Nice List. Since both mine aren't yet, they'll have to wait.

Bedtime Story with Santa:

Make Christmas special, Portable North Pole, Message from Santa

Bedtime stories are available each week (each Saturday before Christmas Eve, because Santa is too busy on the 24th!) in December, which will hopefully help me sent the kids straight to bed (you don't want to keep Santa waiting!). I think it's a lovely additional feature.

As you can see, there is a lot more PNP provides on top of their free services, and I think the £9.99 is really worth it. Just the effort they put in their videos, with the beautiful props, CGI (the sparkles and how our uploaded pictures are tilted in an angle to fit in the film's book for example), cheeky elves and Santa, and the reinforcement you get to allow your child to stay as a child for a bit longer makes it money well spent.

I can't thank the PR enough for choosing us for the review, we are well impressed with all their services, and we will definitely use them again for as long as the kids will let us.