EE Osprey Mifi Review

This post was originally published in February 2015 and is based on six months of usage. There is a review of the newer model – the EE Osprey 2 here.

With the world getting more connected and people carrying larger and more powerful phones and computers around with them it feels that we need to be online the whole time. When it comes to our phones and some mobile connected tablets that is quite straightforward. The problem comes in with our laptops, non mobile connected tablets and other gear. You can choose to make use of dubious and spotty public wifi or try to carry your connection with you. If you want to bring your connection with you then you can try to use your phone as a hotspot or carry a dedicated device called a mifi.

Using your phone as a hotspot seems the simplest solution but it has several problems. Perhaps most importantly the mobile phone carriers restrict the ability to do this or only allow it under limited circumstances at an extra and prohibitive cost per megabyte. In addition your phone is usually restricted to a small number devices connected to it at once and it has a tendency to wear the battery down very quickly.

The final solution is to use a personal hotspot or mifi. This is a small battery operated device that creates a small wifi network and connects it to the net. The Osprey from EE is a perfect example of this. It is based on the Alcatel Onetouch Link Y855 rebranded and prettied up for the UK and EE.





The Osprey is a small plastic rectangular puck. It has smooth plastic over both large faces with a rubber grippy band around the outside. One flat side has a small LCD screen and an LED and the other has the EE logo. The four small sides of the Osprey have a microUSB charging port, a single rocker switch and a openable draw. This draw is where you can put in a micro SD card and the full size sim card. It also has the default wifi name and password written in.

To use the Osprey charge (or run via a mains USB charger or PC USB port) then push and hold the power button for a couple of seconds. The device switches on and connects to the mobile phone system and starts a small wifi network. Sign onto this wifi network with your device and have access to the internet. Up to 10 devices can join the wifi network at once and like any other wifi network depending on permissions they can see each other and communicate. I was able to get laptops, Chromebooks, phones, tablets, a Chromecast and a wifi enabled NAS working on the same network at the same time.

If you are using the Osprey for a single PC and are able to connect it via USB it will automatically install a driver that will allow Windows to treat it as a network connection over the USB. This is potentially battery saving for the mifi (as it will take power from the PC) and is very simple.

The battery is claimed to last for 6 hours of use but this will go up or down depending on the amount of use you are putting it to. I found this fairly accurate in real life getting about 5 hours intensive use without being plugged in before it gave me warnings.

The Osprey can also send and receive SMSs which can be written and read via the web interface. The LCD screen notifies you of new SMS but does not let you read them.


Size: 1.5 x 8.5 x 8.5 cm
Weight: 160g
Colour: Black with yellow trim or white with light green trim
Connectivity: USB, LTE, 3g, HSPCA
Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz) capable
attery: 6 hours, 3000 mAh


To use a mifi you need a sim card with an active data plan. This could be prepay or as part of a contract and can either be purchased directly from EE or via a third party like Amazon. The Osprey is designed for use with EE sims but is usually unlocked which means that if the frequencies are correct it could be used with other networks. I’ve had numerous reports from readers and some have found the Osprey locked and some not. If it is locked it’s typically been easy enough to unlock via a code that costs a couple of pounds.




The Osprey has a small LCD screen on the front that shows its current status. It does this with white text on a black background. At the top of the screen is a line of icons that shows the current signal strength and connection type, if the wifi network is active and battery levels. If the Osprey is not connected is show the words “Not Connected” underneath these icons. The screen turns on briefly when the mifi is turned on and is reactivated for a few seconds whenever the power button is pushed.

At the top left of the front of the device is a small LED that shows green, orange or red depending on the charge status. If you are unable to distinguish these colors the screen also shows the same information.

If you are completely blind it is still possible to switch the Osprey on without reference to the screen. It is not as simple as it could be because the power button is part of a rocker button to set WPSs. If the Osprey is switched off you need to push and hold the power button for a second or two to switch it on. If you cannot visually see which end of the rocker switch is the power button the only real options are random chance or memorizing location – luckily pushing the wrong button does not do any harm.

The web interface is simple and adaptable with most of the information being in standard black text on a white background. Tabs are shown at the top of the screen with white text on a green background or black text on a yellow background. I tested it with a screen reader and while not optimised for the form it did work.
Screenshot 2015-02-06 17.11.07


The EE Osprey mifi has no audio component.

Input and Touch

With the exception of the power button which requires a reasonable pressure for around a second to switch on there are no buttons on the Osprey.

Holding it it feels solid and heavier than its size would expect. The outer rubber band is grippy and makes it difficult to drop and gives a small amount of impact protection if you do drop it.

The web interface is simple and straightforward and has reasonable default settings.

Ease of Use

The hardest part of setting up the Osprey is understanding the different plans and costs that you can get plans for. It can cost anything from £15 a month for 3GB of data but be free hardware to £50 hardware but needing to buy data as you go. Once you have worked out what the best and most economic setup for you is the Osprey is simple to use. Switch it on and it is like any other wifi network except that it is secure and comes with you wherever you go.


Product Information

Manufacturer: Actel, rebranded to EE
Price: From free with contract to £90 with included data
Retailer: EE or Amazon


If you are in the market for a mifi the Osprey is among the best possible choices currently available. It has been replaced on EE’s website with the Osprey 2 which has slightly faster internals but it is not a significant change.  It is worth checking EE’s coverage in your area but assuming that it is reasonable the hardware is simple and solid. There are a couple of niggles – the choice to put the power on a rocker switch and the inclusion of a microSD card slot that seems to have no use but these are minor compared to the utility offered. Recommended.

The EE Osprey Mifi was released in October 2014 and is compatible with any wifi enabled device. The review is based on the a unit provided by EE.

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  1. musliq 21/03/2017 at 4:07 am - Reply

    i have Alcatel 4G FDD1800 EE40 Osprey 3 Mini Unlock. but the light 4G red not blinking. you have solution???

    • Chris Ellis 21/03/2017 at 9:37 am Reply

      Hi, I’m presuming you’ve tried all the obvious things – make sure the sim is in properly, turn it on and off and so on? Chris

  2. Steve Gore 11/02/2017 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    Hi Chris

    Do you know if I can connect the osprey 2 mini to a cctv system? Assuming via the USB socket using a USB / Ethernet adapter??

    Many thanks

    • Chris Ellis 11/02/2017 at 8:29 pm Reply

      Hi Steve, I’ve not got a Mini but with the standard it’s a no go. Plug straight into an individual PC and you can get a net connection through the USB but just plugging straight into a wired ethernet/usb connection doesn’t work. I’d expect that if you used a PC as a bridge – plug the Osprey into the PC via USB then share that net connection via the PC’s ethernet or wifi connection it would be possible to get it to work although probably not without a lot of tweaking.
      If you’re getting really sophisticated you might be able to get it working with a Raspberry Pi as well so it wouldn’t necessarily be that expensive or physically large. But… as I say lots of tweaking and setup involved.

  3. Emily Clayton 05/01/2017 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    Hi Chris,
    Do you know if there is any way to view what devices are connected to the Osprey Mini 2? For some reason it always says that there are three devices connected when I only use my phone and laptop! Weird 😮

    • Chris Ellis 05/01/2017 at 2:00 pm Reply

      I don’t have my mifi with me at the moment but I’ve a recollection that if you log into the web interface that it does list the devices connected to it. Thinking about it for a minute three devices actually makes sense – every device has to be given it’s own ip address on the network the mifi creates so the phone would get one and the laptop and the mifi itself would need one for the other two devices to be able to talk to it. Hence three devices on the network.
      I’m afraid I can’t verify this supposition at the moment but perhaps you can? Disconnect both the phone and laptop and then move the mifi somewhere where there isn’t anything else to connect – if it says 1 device connected then it has to be itself.
      I hope that makes sense?

  4. oliverkennett 28/11/2016 at 6:25 am - Reply

    Is it possible to use the osprey as a repeater, so connect to an existing hotel wifi, for example and then have all peripherals running from it? I sometimes struggle with a decent connection via 4gee or even 3 so this would be nice in terms of security and ease.

    • Chris Ellis 28/11/2016 at 10:40 am Reply

      Hi, Sorry – it’s only got a single wifi radio in it so even with modding I’m not sure there’s any way to make that work. You need a device with two wifi antenna to do that – one to connect to the existing wifi and one to create a new wifi network. I agree it would be a nice feature though!

  5. mark 08/11/2016 at 4:53 pm - Reply

    hi, i bought the osprey to use with a 12 GB data sim card from 3 and had it unlocked. Although it works in the UK it doesnt in France -which is why i purchased. Has anyone managed to use the Osprey abroad -what do i needto change/set up?


    • Chris Ellis 09/11/2016 at 1:12 pm Reply

      Hi, Can’t say for 100% sure about France but I was able to use mine in Spain. I’m not sure that helps though as I didn’t change any specific settings to be able to do so. I am wondering if it’s a restriction on the sim instead?

  6. aj 19/10/2016 at 10:43 am - Reply

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your article.

    I have a question for you.

    I have unlocked my Osprey 2 device and now it can be used with any Sim. Let’s say, if I purchase a Sim which has unlimited data allowance, but a cap for using as a WiFi hot-spot (like tethering) how does this work when I put the Sim into Osprey and use it as a WiFi router? I have a feeling that I will be able to use as a WiFi hot-spot but my only concern is does it actually cut the Internet after reaching the limit defined by the Cap.? Is there a way that I can by pass this cap and use it as an unlimited WiFi hot-spot? Because the data plan in the Sim has an unlimited data allowance. Please can you help me with my question?

    Many thanks,

    • Chris Ellis 19/10/2016 at 11:06 am Reply

      Hi AJ,
      The answer to your question revolves around something called User Agents. Lets say you sit at your PC and pull up a site – . Your browser sends some information about itself and your computer to the site so that it gets back an appropriately sized and laid out page. The sent information includes a lot of data but crucially the version of the browser you’re using and the screen size in pixels and the data is usually sent in the clear.
      The mobile phone company can use this to see what devices you’re using. If that unlimited sim is in a single phone it’s going to consistently be for one specific mobile browser (often Mobile chrome or Safari) and have a screen size that’s mobile phone sized. Put that sim into a mifi and start using multiple systems through it and they’re going to see a range of browser versions, screen sizes and a whole host other changing and non-mobile phone information.
      They may or may not be scanning for this sort of thing normally but if you start using larger amounts of data they probably will take a look at you.
      There are some ways to decrease the chances of there being a problem – the most obvious of which is to use a VPN for everything on the mifi so the data is encrypted but that’s not foolproof by any means and possibly against the TOS of the unlimited plan.
      In short – it might be doable for a short period of time and with a fair amount of technical expertise for longer but the chances are you’ll get cut off or charged more in the longer term.

      • aj 20/10/2016 at 2:39 pm Reply

        Hi Chris,

        Thanks so much for your detailed explanation. Well, I don’t want to use a VPN and fool the Internet provider. Because my intention is to use the Internet only for personal, non-commercial, purposes, such as playing games, watching movies, listening to songs, etc and used only by me.. However, I highly value your reply.


  7. Richard 06/10/2016 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    Hi Chris
    I am moving into a property which has ADSL at 5-9Mb – much slower than the 70-80Mb I currently get through fibre. The house has a wired CAT5 ethernet network, which is ‘powered’ by the ADSL line. Would it be possible to somehow connect an Osprey to the Ethernet switch and share the internet through the network?
    Would a USB to Ethernet cable work for that? Thanks

    • Chris Ellis 07/10/2016 at 9:07 am Reply

      I’ve just tried it and no luck. Plug straight into an individual PC and you can get a net connection through the USB but just plugging straight into a wired ethernet connection doesn’t work by itself. I’d expect that if you used a PC as a bridge – plug the Osprey into the PC via USB then share that net connection via the PC’s ethernet or wifi connection it would be possible to get it to work although probably not without a lot of tweaking.
      I’d also be unsure how much of a boost above the ADSL speeds you’d get. It would of course depend on your local 4g connection I’d make very sure it’s an improvement before investing the time and money.

  8. Dom 11/09/2016 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    Hi Chris, Ive got the latest 4GEE dongle like this one, with a 32gig contract, mainly use it on macbook air but my mobile is also connected. Mainly browsing the net, occasional FB usage, the odd YouTube video and thats it. Used up 32 gig limit in 20 days. Staggered. I put on another 10 gigs today. Did exactly the above minus the looking at YouTube videos and its used 700mb and counting. What’s going on? Surely thats way too high! Ive also seen that EE has a history of miscounting data. Help appreciated!

    • Chris Ellis 12/09/2016 at 8:49 am Reply

      Hi, That does sound like a lot. It’s going to be very hard to work out what you’ve used in the past but I’d suggest installing something like Peakhour on the mac to see where all the data is going and checking in the settings on the phone to see your usage levels. I’d also wonder about OS updates – El Capitan has just been released – is it possible that was downloading in the background?
      Miscounting data by EE is something that I have seen reported and I’ve had figures that they’ve quoted to me differ by a few percentage from what I’d measured. I wouldn’t expect it to be anywhere near the amount’s you’re quoting though.
      What it comes down to is get figures and figure out where the data’s being used. If it still doesn’t add up you’ve also got a much better standpoint to talk to EE about the problem.

  9. Mark 02/07/2016 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    Hi, I bought an osprey mini 2 with the intention of using an eBay code to unlock it so I can use a French sim at our holiday home.
    I got the nck code and it doesn’t work! I tried another supplier on eBay, it was the same number so obviously didn’t work.
    I’ve tried every phone shop in my local town (there’s lots of them!) and nobody knows how to unlock it.
    I went into the ee shop and asked if I could pay them to unlock it and they said they couldn’t.
    Seems unfair that I paid the higher price for a payg unit and still can’t find a way of using it outside of ee.
    Any help appreciated, it there a software method I could use to unlock it?

    • Chris Ellis 02/07/2016 at 7:26 pm Reply

      Hi – sorry if all the places you’ve tried are giving you the same code the chances are that there isn’t another available publicly. EE should be able to unlock it though – I’m assuming you’ve tried this? It costs a little and takes a while but for a PAYG device they should be able to?
      If that doesn’t work try just calling them or a different shop assistant. It should be possible!

  10. Annie 29/06/2016 at 10:08 am - Reply

    Hello! I’ve been using the opsrey 2 mini pretty successfully in my holiday home (although it’s expensive to keep topping up) for a couple of months. Two days ago it stopped working and all I’m getting is a flashing red light above where it says 4G. I can’t find any reference to this problem and have spent a LONG time on the phone with EE who don’t seem to know what’s wrong with it either and simply want to sell me something else. It’s plugged in all the time so it’s not a battery issue and I’ve tried a master re-set and also removed and re-inserted the sim all to no avail. I don’t want to buy a new one without finding out what’s wrong with it in case it happens again.

    • Haydon Berrow 26/02/2017 at 9:45 am Reply

      I had this as an intermittent problem. In my case it was because the sim card wasn’t making proper contact and I solved it by pushing a thin piece of plastic down the back of the sim card to push it onto the contacts.

    • Chris Ellis 29/06/2016 at 11:12 am Reply

      Hi, I’m afraid I don’t have any quick answers – I’ve never seen that particular problem either and can’t find anything referring to it. I do have two possible suggestions that are related. First try a different wall power supply. I don’t think it’ll help but it’s worth a go. Second idea is to let the battery completly discharge – leave it on until it runs out of power and if there’s something stuck in memory that might get rid of it.
      I’m afraid I don’t have high hopes for either solution but they’re worth trying at least.

  11. Mat Porter 01/06/2016 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    I’m unable to get a broadband connection in my flat & I’m considering getting an Osprey 2 with 50gb. I was just wondering – has anyone had any experience of using these to play games like Warcraft & to connect to a Fire TV stick using Kodi? How does it perform in comparison to a regular connection of equivalent speed?

    • Chris Ellis 01/06/2016 at 6:38 pm Reply

      Hi Mat,
      Taking those in reverse order I’ve connected mine to a Fire stick and assuming that you’ve got a decent enough connection then it works fine. Streaming usually takes around .6gb an hour so if 50gb is enough for you will depend on how much you want to use it. Warcraft is rather a different problem. By the way they work wireless connections have relatively poor latency and playing online games is difficult with them. I’ve just loaded up my wow using my Osprey 2 with a decent 4g connection and it works but the latency is often in the 100s of miliseconds. Useable but you’d not be able to raid with it. Chris

      • Lisa Burgess 03/06/2016 at 9:01 pm Reply

        Hi Chris. As a neighbour (living in Bulford..) we have bought the osprey 2 mini and used it all week in our caravan down in Devon. No1 son has used the 2gb of contracted data using his ps4… So have bought a 6gb data sim for EE from Amazon but can’t get it to connect. Do I need to cancel the contract from EE first (30 day rolling) or should any new EE sim work??? THe plan was to just buy a new sim as and when we needed it as not using van enough to use data continuously each month.

        • Chris Ellis 04/06/2016 at 7:14 am Reply

          Hi Lisa, (hello neighbor!) Your plan should work. Even if the Osprey is locked swapping from one EE sim to another should be successful. I’ve done just that with the Osprey 2 earlier this year and had no problems and the mini is virtually identical to the 2. Wish I had a clearer answer for you now but I’ll think on it and get back to you later today. Chris

          • Lisa 04/06/2016 at 9:26 am Reply

            Thank you! I’m about to call EE now!!

            • Chris Ellis 04/06/2016 at 12:49 pm Reply

              Great – I’m afraid I’ve not come up with any reasons why it won’t work. I’m hoping they had a decent answer?

              • Shannon Ray Davis 24/07/2016 at 6:40 am Reply

                I have bought (2) of the EE Mini Osprey 2 Routers here in Bali, Indonesia and they are unlocked and will work with most 4G sim chips. Insert the SIMM and then go to and login with username: admin and password: admin OR the password on the card insert and setup your new router.

                New out fo the box they need to be plugged in and allowed time to charge the battery and if it ever locks up on you take a paper clip and insert into the reset hole and press it down while pressing the main button on the fron until is resets…Should fix most problems

  12. Robert Armstrong 27/05/2016 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    Hi I am thinking of buying an Osprey mobile wifi for use in France. Will it work we live in rural part of western France. Thanks Robert

    • Ian 31/05/2016 at 10:44 pm Reply

      Hi Chris,

      I’m thinking of the Osprey as a short term fix for my house while I get fixed internet. I’d need 2 Smart TVs connected to the network, and a home heating system. There will only be one user of the wifi, but probably using internet during the day and TV streaming in the evening. Do you think a 32g data package per month will be sufficient? How much are the top ups?

      • Chris Ellis 01/06/2016 at 9:20 am Reply

        Hi Robert,
        Those are a number of questions that are hard to answer. The simpler ones first. If the smart TV’s have wifi there’s no problem getting them connected on to the network. Data usage is a piece of string question – as a rule of thumb an hour of streaming video at SD quality will use about .6 of a gigabyte so if you do nothing else that 32gb will get you about 50 hours of streaming a month. The heating system (a nest or similar?) will use a very small amount of data so we can ignore that. The browsing in the day time is rather harder to quantify as well – how much data do you use?
        In the end you need to go through and guesstimate if its enough.
        Top ups costs are going to depend on your plan so thats also hard to advise. I’ve found the most economic way to handle it is buying sims pre-loaded from Amazon like this but your milage will vary.
        Sorry for the lack of a definitive answer!

    • Chris Ellis 28/05/2016 at 9:25 am Reply

      Hi, Wish I could answer but I’m not up on which frequencies French mobile networks use. The best I can say is it’s likely to share at least one or two frequencies so it will probably work – but I can’t prove it and depending on which frequencies it might work a lot slower than you’d like.

  13. Marcia 26/05/2016 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    I’ve got the 15gig for £20 a month contract, only person using it (laptop, not Mac), mainly use it for Facebook (have autoplay turned off), emails and one hour of streaming per week. My allowance is only lasting about 2-3 weeks, last month I had to put another £20 on it, it seemed to last OK when I first got it but now always runs out mid month, any ideas?

    • Chris Ellis 27/05/2016 at 8:45 am Reply

      I’m wondering what’s going on in the background update wise. Assuming you’re in Windows 10 go to settings, then network and internet and you can get data usage from the last 30 days. Click on usage detail’s and it’ll break it down by program which might help give you an idea where the data might be going. The second thing to do is make sure Windows is seeing the hub as a metered network. This mean’s it’ll be more frugal with useage whenever it can. Open your Start menu and select Settings. Select the “Network & Internet” icon, select “Wi-Fi,” and select “Advanced options” at the bottom of the list of nearby Wi-Fi networks. Activate the “Set as metered connection” option here.
      Hope that helps?

  14. Fozz 25/05/2016 at 7:10 pm - Reply

    is there any way to turn on data roaming?

    • Chris Ellis 25/05/2016 at 7:19 pm Reply

      I can say that there’s nothing in the menu’s about data roaming and no way to alter this. Does anyway have any different information?

      • Fozz 25/05/2016 at 7:32 pm Reply

        im going to spain in 2 weeks so got an osprey and unlocked it,got an all you can eat data plan but i think i’ll have to try turn on data roaming.

  15. kelly stevens 05/05/2016 at 10:09 am - Reply

    Hi can you connect chromecast to this as im having a few problems

    • Chris Ellis 05/05/2016 at 10:16 am Reply

      I can vouch that it can work. As I recall when I set it up I had to make sure there was a good internet connection available as the Chromecast was testing the connection to make sure it could handle streaming from the net. Perhaps thats your issue?

  16. sunday ankomah 14/04/2016 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    hello boss, my alactel mifi has been unlock but only the services of the first one come (default) SIM card works but any other network fails. the responds is “no services” can you please help me out.

    • Chris Ellis 14/04/2016 at 5:39 pm Reply

      Sounds like it’s not actually unlocked – can you try a different sim card from the same network it was locked to to see if that works?

      • Margaret Beever 23/04/2016 at 1:55 pm Reply

        Hi, I bought an Osprey to use abroad but really expensive! I have just got a transatel data sim to us with it but it just gives me a red light. I put the EE sim back in and are now getting a red light from that too.

        • Chris Ellis 23/04/2016 at 6:21 pm Reply

          Hi, Bet bet you’ve got one that’s locked. It seems that most are these days. If you go on ebay there are a number of people selling unlock codes for a couple of pounds. It not working now is probably a temporary thing – EE can and occasionally have put a temporary hold on them if you try another network when its not unlocked. If it’s not working yet try a factory reset. Chris

  17. Nick 07/04/2016 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    I have a 4G dongle from EE on a good monthly contract (30GB for £20) which I don’t want to lose. Can I take the SIM out of that and put it into the Opsrey? Nobody at either EE or Currys/PCWorld seems to know whether that’s possible.

    • Chris Ellis 07/04/2016 at 2:44 pm Reply

      That is a good deal – I can see why you’d want to keep it. Short version – I think it probably will work but I can’t tell for sure. The plans are usually restricted by type (mifi, tablet, phone and so on) but not by specific item. It will just depend on how much checking they’re doing behind the scenes. If you’ve already got one it would do no harm to take the sim out of the first and just try it in the Osprey but it’s more difficult if you don’t already have one.

      • Nick 07/04/2016 at 2:59 pm Reply

        Thanks Chris. Naturally it’s in the interests of EE people to sell me a new contract. But Curry’s have the previous model mini Osprey now for £14.99 which is worth buying just to try it out. If I open the packaging carefully I should be able to take it back the next day if it doesn’t work.

        • Chris Ellis 07/04/2016 at 3:46 pm Reply

          Sounds like a perfect solution. Good luck and careful opening of that packaging!

  18. Linzi 30/03/2016 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    I just bought an osprey mini 2 for £49.99 with 6gb preloaded. My mum is currently in hospital and it was so she could FaceTime, iMessage etc from iPad to help pass the time. I set it up and registered it yesterday at 3pm and when I went back to visit her at 7.30 pm the same day all of the data was used?!? She sent 1 iMessage, downloaded bbc Iplayer app (but didn’t watch anything) and general Internet use for about 1 hour. Surely this can’t be right?

    • AudreyN 24/06/2016 at 3:13 pm Reply

      I have had the same problem with EE Osprey 2 Mini. I bought 24GB date at the beginning of April 2016. We use it to surf the web (looking at websites). Facebook –
      looking at and reading data, and for emails via yahoo and outlook. The data allowance ran out after two and a half months – that makes the £90 purchase incredibly
      expensive and the claim that the Osprey comes with a years data allowance means that it is actually not fit for purpose since we did not do anything that a low data user
      would not do. We are complaining to EE.

      • Chris Ellis 25/06/2016 at 8:13 am Reply

        I’m again wondering if you’ve had things running in the background? If you’re running Windows 10 it should be possible to see the data usage in the last month or 30 days which might give you some idea about where you usage has gone – it breaks it down by program.
        I’d personally judge 2gb a month as a bare minimum if you’re very careful and don’t use any streaming video, download much or upgrade any os’s and are very sparing of your use.
        Saying it’s not fit for purpose is difficult though – the amount of data you use is a very personal thing. You can use mifi’s as a main connection but they are really designed as an occasional and on the go connector.

    • Chris Ellis 31/03/2016 at 4:55 pm Reply

      That does sound very excessive. I have two thoughts. Firstly are you sure you activated the 6gb? They usually have around 50meg of emergency data on the before needing activating which would sound reasonable for the usage you’ve mentioned. Second option any chance the computer was downloading a system update in the background? 6gb would be excessive and huge but it might account for some of it?
      If neither of those seem to fit I’d contact EE – there’s something going wrong there! Chris

      • karen mcmaster 03/04/2016 at 4:00 pm Reply

        Hi we have bought a Osprey 2 mini to use in our caravan, can we use this with our smart tv if so how?

        • Chris Ellis 03/04/2016 at 5:22 pm Reply

          Hi, You should be able to do so depending on if the smart TV has built in wifi. If it does it’s simple – turn both on and go into the settings on the TV and you can join the wifi network and just go. If it’s got ethernet its far more difficult. You’ll need a wifi to ethernet bridge to get from one to another.
          Bear in mind that streaming video will potentially use a fair amount of data which might cost you.

  19. Dave Herbert 21/03/2016 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    I’m a little confused. Bought the osprey mini 2 from Argos 49.99 6 gb data loaded on the sim. worked strait out of the box. what i’m confused about is i have not yet purchased any more data but i have gone well over the 6 gb data that was included. I’m already up to 9 gb. I got an sms warning message to the osprey when i was approaching 6 gb but nothing since.

    • Chris Ellis 21/03/2016 at 8:51 pm Reply

      Then from the sound of it you’ve gotten a good deal! EE do offer an emergency extra you can turn on but it’s around 100meg only. I’m not sure that they could do anything to reclaim the data either as it’s pay as you go. Are you sure you haven’t got it tied to a card to auto-topup?

      • Dave Herbert 21/03/2016 at 9:42 pm Reply

        they haven’t got my credit card details. in the short time since i made that post my son has clocked up another gb on netflix lol. well pleased.

  20. Patrick Ennis 23/02/2016 at 8:41 am - Reply

    I’m very pleased with coverage & speeds on my Osprey 2 mini ,which I will use in place of a hub for 6 months (laptop ,tablet,chromecast ,sonos )

    Battery life seems to be 5 hours generally,

    Can I leave this device plugged in or on a timer to charge for say 3hrs everyday ?

    Also ,how would I connect a smart TV.?

    • Chris Ellis 23/02/2016 at 9:38 am Reply

      I’ve not used the Osprey 2 Mini but speaking generally you’d do better keeping it plugged in the whole time and letting it keep itself topped up than putting on an external timer which would have the end result of draining and refilling your battery regularly – not a good thing for it’s long term health.
      Connection to smartTV – I’m assuming that the TV has an ethernet port rather than wifi so you need something called a wifi bridge. If its just the one device something like this would work fine.
      Hope that helps?

    • Chris Ellis 23/02/2016 at 9:36 am Reply

      I’ve not used the Osprey 2 Mini but speaking generally you’d do better keeping it plugged in the whole time and letting it keep itself topped up than putting on an external timer which would have the end result of draining and refilling your battery regularly – not a good thing for it’s long term health.

      Connection to smartTV – I’m assuming that the TV has an ethernet port rather than wifi so you need something called a wifi bridge. If its just the one device something like this would work fine.

      Hope that helps?

  21. Helen 19/02/2016 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    Hi can anyone help. I have the ee osprey but to connect each time I have to turn it off and then back on again. This happens each time we go out of the house and come back in. Can anyone help thanks Helen

    • Chris Ellis 20/02/2016 at 7:39 am Reply

      To clarify are you leaving the mifi in the house and taking your devices that connect to it like your phones with you? If so it sounds like the mifi is going to sleep. I don’t have my Osprey with me to check at the moment but I’m wondering if in the settings it’s possible to set the device to not sleep?

      • Helen Whitehouse 20/02/2016 at 8:37 am Reply

        Yes that’s right. We use it as our main internet connection. Thanks

        • Chris Ellis 20/02/2016 at 9:16 am Reply

          Okay. In which case you’ve probably got it plugged in so you’re not too worried about saving battery life. Checking the sleep settings is the way to go. Chris

  22. John W 27/01/2016 at 8:02 am - Reply

    See my entry of 7 Aug. 2015. I have found you need to keep the unit active (ticking over). I achieve this by connecting it to a USB port on media player connected to my TV and leaving the media player powered.

    My mobile phone connects automatically when I come within Wifi range and other devices connect easily. Could the very regular loss of connection be the mobile phone network dropping the connection?

  23. John 26/01/2016 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    I had the ee osprey and it kept dropping the Internet.
    It was only 3 months old when on our iPads we got “no connection”
    at the same time at least 10 x a day, ee would not change the dongle which was purchased from ee shop in Scunthorpe so had to terminate my contract. When the dongle was working performance was fabulous speed in excess 30mb most of the time. Shame ee customer services have such a bad reputation and lost £25 a month
    for a £30 to buy dongle

  24. Neil Brimer 24/12/2015 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    Hi for those looking for an Ethernet port ee are doing an Huawei lte cube but only in major cities and not on website presently, basically an osprey but mains powered non portable but has a Ethernet port plus takes more than 10 devices.

  25. Laura 16/11/2015 at 10:51 pm - Reply

    My Osprey 2 keeps sending n error message that I have used all of my data. Impossible – I don’t download every week and don’t use it every day. 1 have 15 gig per month to use and I would be hard pressed to use 2 gig per month. I have tried resetting the device. Does anyone have any ideas what is wrong. I also only get around 2 – 3 hours usage without have to recharge. Feels like I have bought a ‘lemon’. Laura

    • Chris Ellis 17/11/2015 at 8:29 am Reply

      Hi Laura. My best guess is that the software built into the Osprey has a indicator that lets you set how much data you use a month. The idea is that it lets you know when you get to your contract amount and warns you before you go over. If you’ve not changed it the default might be on 1 or 2 gig hence your issue. That’s a guess as I’ve not used the Osprey 2 but the only other alternative I can see is a problem directly with EE. The two or three hours usage does sound more like a hardware problem and is far lower than I would expect. How long since you purchased it? If its still in the initial guarantee you might be able to get the hardware changed. Chris

  26. Petrina Heward 15/11/2015 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    Your Q&A’s make very interesting reading. I have a query which is that my mobile signal strength is sporadic to say the least (edge of large village Dorset). My current Huawei mi-fi is only 2gb which has been well overtaken. I was seriously considering buying the Osprey Mini and getting it unlocked. Made a big mistake reading Amazon feedback before I found your website today which was much more positive. Should I go ahead and get the Mini Osprey if the mobile strength drifts on and off please? Thank you.

    • Chris Ellis 16/11/2015 at 8:59 am Reply

      Hi, Glad you like the Q&A – we seem to have covered most things here now 🙂 I can say that I’ve not noticed any particular signal variance when I’m in one location and so the signal should be consistent. If I’m going to be in one place for a while or overnight it’s worth putting it in the window or high if the signal’s low though. The review and my experience is with the Osprey 1 though – no guarantees as to how that translates to the Osprey 2 or the Mini. Chris

  27. Paul 15/11/2015 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    Oh, one more query – is it possible to change the battery? I assume like all others this one will wear out at some point?


    • Chris Ellis 15/11/2015 at 3:26 pm Reply

      Sorry – its a sealed unit. I’ve had it running with zero charge plugged in so even if the battery totally goes it’ll work that way but that’s the best I can offer.

  28. Paul 12/11/2015 at 10:07 am - Reply

    That’s most kind and helpful Chris. Many thanks


  29. Paul 11/11/2015 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    We live in a rural area and need something like this for our main internet access. My PC is not wireless-enabled. Two questions that I have not been able to get sensible answers to so far: first, can this device be mains-operated for home use, and second, would the use of one of those cheap and cheerful USB wireless thingies enable the PC to work with the device?


    • Chris Ellis 12/11/2015 at 9:25 am Reply

      Hi Paul. To answer your questions – yes it can be mains powered. It runs via USB so get a wall USB charger and plug it in with the USB cable and you can leave it running indefinitely. I’ve had mine running for a couple of weeks when on holiday with no issues at all. USB wireless dongle – yes those should work fine. The Osprey works on 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz) wifi so you’ll need a dongle that can handle at least one of those frequencies and preferably the n as that’s the fastest such as this one that is top of the seller lists on Amazon and looks reasonable. Chris.

  30. Ru 02/11/2015 at 7:58 pm - Reply

    how are they for streaming something like iplayer and utube?

    • Chris Ellis 02/11/2015 at 8:32 pm Reply

      It should be fine – the technology can support the speeds for streaming with no issues. The only question is how good will your signal be? If it’s able to get a reasonable 4g signal you will be fine – less than that will be more problematic.

  31. chris 18/10/2015 at 9:09 am - Reply

    EE are doing deals on 4g simms at the moment that get you 100gb of data each month for two months for just a one of top up of £10. Its the second time I’m aware they’ve done this this year. Search hot uk deals for details

    • Chris Ellis 18/10/2015 at 10:17 am Reply

      Thats a good deal – I’m off to check the small print 😉

  32. rob 07/10/2015 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    I’m thinking of buying a osprey 2 on a 12 mth contract which offers 25gb per mth for £30 a mth for 9 mths with last 3 mths free and upfront cost of £9.99. This sounds like a good deal but unsure about the product and poor EE service (phone always slow response & the local store pretty useless at info). Wanted to know how long it takes the device to fully charge and if 2 laptops are using it how long the battery lasts? thanks

    • Chris Ellis 07/10/2015 at 3:35 pm Reply

      Sounds like a good contract if the coverage works in your area. I’ve not used the Osprey 2 but the one takes about 2 hours to fully charge if switched off and charging using a high wattage wall charger. In use I’ve had multiple devices connected to it and gotten 8 or 10 hours usage with no problems. THe other aspect is that as it charges via microUSB a phone battery can charge it as easily as it could charge your phone.

  33. Carol Scholfield 06/10/2015 at 9:14 am - Reply

    We have had an osprey for about a year, as we have no broadband in the area, however we are having blinds fitted which are remote control and need an Internet connection, how can we add the connection box to the osprey. Can we add a router or extender if so what do I need.

    • Chris Ellis 06/10/2015 at 10:00 am Reply

      Hi, If the binds use wifi they should just be able to connect to the Osprey directly just as you would connect another device. It can be connected up to 10 devices at onces so the chances are you have space. If they’re ethernet its going to be more difficult and you’d need to get a wifi-to-ethernet bridge for around £20 to £30. If its bluetooth it’ll need to be connected via a device like your phone or computer.

      • Carol Scholfield 06/10/2015 at 11:16 am Reply

        They will need to connect via Ethernet

        • Chris Ellis 06/10/2015 at 12:23 pm Reply

          Then you’ll need a bridge – something like this one. In short terms it plugs in then connects to your wifi network and then you can plug your wired ethernet device – blinds – into it.

  34. Randall Forrest 16/09/2015 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    Hi Chris
    Thanks for all your advice .
    Just goes to confirm what I originally suspected , that ” the GB a used on 4g isn’t the same as a GB on ADSL ” and ” it must be a device carrying out auto updates ” are just excuses used by EE to fob off customer enquiries . When a company has a set of prepared dubious responses , ready to trot out , you have to wonder what they have to hide . There have only ever been 2 devices connected to network and one of them is now a 1000 miles away , a bit out of range ! so unless someone has hacked our network there should only be one active ( I’ll check ) . What raised my attention to a possible problem was the difference between the usage during the first three months and that of the fourth with a broadly similar pattern of usage ( albeit with a spike during 4 days ) in the last month we had to top up 52GB over and above the 15GB included . I’ve actually now cancelled the contract , so that this won’t happen again and I will look at other operator possibly on a PAYG basis .

    • Chris Ellis 17/09/2015 at 9:27 am Reply

      That makes sense – I’m more than a little befuddled by the claim that a GB is different depending on where it is. I can see a difference in cost but a GB is a GB like a metre is a metre. Good luck with your next pic but I’m afraid I’d say that every mobile phone operator has its problems – there’s really no standout choice available.

  35. Randall Forrest 16/09/2015 at 9:09 am - Reply

    Just wondering if anyone had experienced any problems regarding top ups ? Bought the Osprey with monthly rolling contract 15 GB for £20 p/m . First 3 months no problem , moderate use ( email surfing occasional BBC iplayer Netflix etc ) . During the 4th month my son was staying in the flat for a few days and we went over the allowance ( you tube , F/B etc ) , which seemed plausible , except it wasn’t the first time he had been there . That’s when the top ups started – it required a further £87 ( in addition to the £20 monthly charge ) to keep the account active for the rest of the month . Simply put I don’t think the amount of GB usage from the top ups equates to the GB included in the plan . When I contacted EE they gave me various excuses ; ” must be devices carrying out auto updates ” – we only used macbook airs set to warn before updates , ” the amount of GB usage on 4g is not the same as on adsl ” – I assumed that a GB was a standard measure of usage regardless of the delivery method .

    • Chris Ellis 16/09/2015 at 9:42 am Reply

      First thing a gigabyte is a standard and precise amount of data – if anyone is telling you otherwise they are mistaken. 15GB is not however a huge amount for streaming video. As a rule of thumb I’d expect about 1GB per hour for a SD stream and about 3GB per hour for a HD stream. Facebook and email won’t use much data by themselves although bear in mind Facebook does now auto-start streaming videos in your feed.

      We’re using our Osprey on a pay as you go basis and only when we’re out of the house so we’ve not had any overage problems – I’m hoping someone else here has used it on contract?

      Right now I’d recommend you do three things. First check that there isn’t anything connected to the wifi apart from your Macbook Airs – that should be easy enough just look on the Osprey screen how many devices are connected and if the figure is wrong something else is using data. Second change the settings on any streaming video to default to SD rather than HD. Third install a bandwidth monitor on both your computers like this one. That will give you specifics of what is actually being used so you can either find a problem or have figures to challenge the mobile phone company if you need to.

  36. John W 07/08/2015 at 10:56 am - Reply

    Just purchased a Ospray Mini2. Wanted to use it as a modem/router in a rural house where there is 4G but no land line BB available. The unit powers down after a few minutes of non use even if powered by a charger. Is this normal? I do not want to be constantly jumping up or going to another room to repower it. Any ideas please?

    • Chris Ellis 09/08/2015 at 5:02 pm Reply

      Hi John, I’ve not used the Mini2 but that’s not normal behavior for the original version. My guess is that you’ve got power management setup to be very miserly – check in the settings to see what you can find. If there’s nothing there try a master reset (that link also explains how to get to the settings) and see if that helps. If that’s no good talk to EE – you might have a dud unit or they might have another idea.

  37. newton wood 05/08/2015 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    You say it will SHOW when the power is will it SHOW its off if there or no lights on as it is also on with lights off.

    Do you turn your electricity off at home to save power and sit in the dark.

    It is a poor design not to have a visual to tell you the Osprey is off or on as the power consumption is so small to provide a visual to have any significant effect

    • Chris Ellis 05/08/2015 at 1:04 pm Reply

      If the power is off and you press the button for a moment it flashes up a battery symbol on the screen. If the power is on that short press shows you the current status. I can see your perspective but I don’t see this as any different to your mobile phone – if the screen is off how do you check if it is switched on – press the power or home button.
      In addition I tend to have the mifi in my bag so a indicator would not help much.

  38. newton wood 04/08/2015 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    Where does it display turning off..? there seems to be no indication its on or off.

    This can cause a lot of usage without knowing and cost poor design in my opinion

    • Chris Ellis 05/08/2015 at 7:28 am Reply

      The display turns off to save power – push the button for a second and it will show whether it’s on or off. I can see what you’re saying about leaving it on by mistake but I’d rather save the extra power. I’ve not had it left on by accident in the 9 months or so I’ve been using it.

  39. D stevens 29/07/2015 at 7:15 am - Reply

    Are the lights meant to stay on?? After a minute or so mine turn off so I’m not sure if I’m connected or not, and the also how would you turn it off knowing it’s off??

    • Chris Ellis 29/07/2015 at 7:49 am Reply

      The screen switches off after about a minute similar to the way that a smartphone does to save battery power. A very short press on the power button turns the screen back on so you can check status but does nothing else. Making sure its off – press and hold the power button for a few seconds and it displays the message “Turning off” for a few seconds then powers down. To be sure its off a short press on the power button should give you nothing – a longer press is required to turn it on.
      Hope that helps.

  40. Andy Tate 24/06/2015 at 8:29 am - Reply

    Hi. After reading your review I ordered an Osprey on EE from Carphone and it arrived yesterday.

    SIM LOCK is now enabled.

    It would appear they are now shipping LOCKED devices. It looks just the same as the one in your review and without a sim in it will display the management page etc saying “No SIM card”. However, putting in my GiffGaff sim and powering up again the screen displays “SIM LOCK”. The management page says “Sim lock required” and says you have 10 attempts at entering the correct code.

    I have a few old PAYG sims and it appears to accept the following SIMs and shows a connection to the network.
    Orange racoon

    So if anyone can help with unlocking this device it would be appreciated as I bought it on the strength of this review to use with my laptop. Yes it connects fine via WiFi to my old laptop. I bought the offer from carphone with a 30day data package so I can at least see how good EE network is where I travel.

    • Simon Long (@SimonTenore) 17/08/2015 at 2:02 am Reply

      Ebay, you can get an unlock code for 99p. Just supply your IMEI number in message!

      • Chris Ellis 17/08/2015 at 7:15 am Reply

        That’s what I’ve seen offered. It seems some of them are already unlocked but those that are not should not be too hard to unlock.

    • Chris Ellis 24/06/2015 at 9:04 am Reply

      Thats bad news. I’ve just pulled out my Osprey and I tried it with a sim from O2 (which is the same physical network as GiffGaff) and it worked perfectly.

      From the sound of it we’ve got two possibilities – either the fact that I got mine directly from EE rather than Carphone Warehouse makes a difference for some reason or EE have updated the firmware at some point to lock it down. A few minutes searching and it looks like the second possiblity – EE is locking them down.

      I have found a possible solution through it doesn’t look like its too hard to unlock. Codes seem to be available here and there’s a video here showing the process. I can’t actually test this myself for obvious reasons but it looks reasonable and small enough cost to take the chance on it.

      If you decide to do it could you let me know and I’ll update the review with whatever the result turns out to be?

  41. Angelo 15/06/2015 at 7:05 am - Reply

    I reserved an Osprey at Curry’s but when I turned up late to pick it up the salesman said he would sell me an Osprey Mini 2 for just £5 more but it was more powerful etc. When I checked on the web I see that it will hold a charge for 6 hours as your review shows however the plain Osprey 2 will per suggestions on the web hold power for 12 hours or longer. Can anyone confirm if the plain Osprey machines holds power for longer?

    • Chris Ellis 15/06/2015 at 8:55 am Reply

      Hi, I’ve not had a chance to play with the Osprey Mini 2 yet but a look at the specs shows it has a 1500mAh battery and the plain Osprey we reviewed has has a 3000mAh battery. The Osprey 2 has a 5150mAh battery. It’s rarely quite as simple as more battery life giving more usage time but the rest of the specs are not that different so all in all I’m going to guess the Osprey 2 will last longer. Whether that equates to a doubling of usage time I doubt but longer.

  42. Lee Hughes 06/06/2015 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    just wondering what the microSd slot is used for? cant seem to find info about it. some kind of nas?

    • Chris Ellis 06/06/2015 at 6:04 pm Reply

      I’ve seen it stated in a few places its for a NAS network storage but I’ve not been able to get it to do anything. I’ve tried different capacities of microSD cards and been all through the settings and manual – nothing. My best guess is that with the right firmware it could be a NAS but that EE’s firmware does not support it. I’d love to be proved that it can be made to work if anyone has any ideas?

      • Jongleur 16/06/2015 at 12:10 pm Reply

        Chris, probably to save battery, as the microsd card will require *some* extra power… even if little – and EE users will be looking for long battery life first and foremost. But yeah, those mysteries about how manufacturers waste the capabilities of devices, will never cease!

        For more (they haven’t managed a definitive solution yet) see:

        • Chris Ellis 16/06/2015 at 2:42 pm Reply

          I agree – the thinking is that battery life is all. I wish they’d just put it that way by default and then let us decide to change it if we wanted to. The link is interesting and if you really really want to start poking around inside the Osprey it might be possible to get the microSD card doing something. There’s probably more chance of bricking the mifi than getting the extra functionality.

  43. Mark 02/06/2015 at 8:37 pm - Reply

    I have an Osprey and heading to the states for three weeks in the summer. I was thinking of getting a sim only plan with three to put inside the device and use it in America for the free internet. Has anyone tried this? Will the three sim work and will I be throttled to 4GB as it might see it as a hotspot?

  44. Dave 23/05/2015 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    Also does this device have a separate power socket or is it powered through the usb port

  45. Dave 23/05/2015 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    Does this device have a usb cable that can be connected directly to a laptop?

    • Chris Ellis 23/05/2015 at 1:11 pm Reply

      It can connect directly to a laptop via USB. Plug it in and you can install drivers from it.
      Charging and power both come via the USB.

  46. Kate 23/05/2015 at 8:14 am - Reply

    I live in a rural location and use it for my main connection to the Internet! Computers and tablets. It is fantastic, 4g with only a couple of bars of connection and I can now watch videos!!!

  47. shah 10/05/2015 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    Hi all please guide me is osprey can connect laptops on its wiifii? As ive been told by currys agent that it can only be used for tablets and phones?

    • Jongleur 16/06/2015 at 12:07 pm Reply

      Shah, you should have known! Currys are ALWAYS wrong, but always try to appear ‘positive’, rather than admit they know nothing. Typical oxygen-thief sales-jokers, with zero tech knowledge. Currys employ bottom-of-the-barrel no-marks. I try to be nice to them, but when I’m in there picking up bargains (on the very rare occasion that they have any genuine deals), I find they annoy me very easily by failing to meet even my lowest expectations.

    • Chris 11/05/2015 at 6:32 am Reply

      Currys is dead wrong. The Osprey is just like a normal wifi hub in this – you can connect anything that can handle its wifi. I’m replying to this post on my Chromebook laptop using the Osprey and on the table next to me is the smart wifi pen I’m reviewing at the moment also connected to it.
      Quoting from the review above “Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz) capable” which is 99% of modern systems.
      Hope that helps.

      • shah 11/05/2015 at 6:55 am Reply

        Thank you chris for your reply. Thats what i thought it is but he confused me. Also can you suggest how is the internet speed if using osprey in your laptop?

        • Chris 11/05/2015 at 8:37 am Reply

          No problems. Speed is going to be dependent on location. I’m in Maidenhead on business today and I’m getting 48 meg/second down and 19 up. I’ve seen it go to hear 100 in central London and down to nothing in very rural locations. The vast majority of the time it seems to stay around 20 meg/second. If you’re going to be using it at a specific location I’d check out the EE coverage map but otherwise chances are you’ll have decent speed most urban places dropping off as you get more and more rural.

          • shah 11/05/2015 at 10:36 am Reply

            I live in leeds ls8 5pg area

            • Chris 11/05/2015 at 12:45 pm Reply

              Looking at the map Leeds has complete 4g coverage so you’re looking at 50meg per second upwards if you’re lucky. Should be more than enough!

  48. […] Woodland Lodges have wifi. We prefer taking our own which can be set-up conveniently and with our EE Osprey Mifi we had a reliable decent connection for the duration of our stay. Mobile phone coverage throughout […]

  49. colin 29/04/2015 at 10:51 am - Reply

    Thanks Very informative thank you. i have just recived one and finding it spot on for my needs.

    • Chris 29/04/2015 at 12:10 pm Reply

      Hi Colin
      Glad to hear you liked the review and even more that the Osprey turned out to fit your needs. Thankyou for reaching out – it really helps to hear!

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