Have you considered the Note 3? It's a bit bigger than the Note 2 but smaller than the 8. Might work best for you based on your desire and your carrier issues.
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Network: Family Mobile (T-Mobile)
Current Devices:Galaxy Note 8.0 , Galaxy Nexus GSM/HSPA+, Nexus 7 (2012), Kindle Touch
Other/Family Devices: Samsung Galaxy S II, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2
Previous Phones: Evo 3D, Epic 4G, , Evo 4G, Samsung Vibrant, Samsung Intercept, T-Mo G1
Previous Tablets:Galaxy Note 10.1, Galaxy Tab 8.9, Kindle Fire, Dell Streak 7, Asus Transformer, iPad, Archos 101, Nook Color and aPad