I've read you can use this as a phone by itself without needing to buy and sync to a Samsung phone.
Is that correct? Have you tried it? I'm investigating options for sight or dexterity diminished persons, often aged, who want a big screen, less portability.
I can't tell you for certain as I'm also currently looking to buy a tablet for the same purpose, but at least on Amazon.com's product page it says for the model called SM-T505 (WiFi + Cellular, Silver)
International Model - No Warranty in the US. This tablet will function for Data and Calling purposes with compatible GSM Networks and as a Phone. ...
I'd order only if there's an easy return option but I'm pretty optimistic this tablet can, in fact, make calls.
I have to object to part of this review, namely the repeated references to the slim bezels being so great [aesthetically]. You can have slender or nonexistent borders on a phone maybe, but a tablet needs to have a frame ! One large enough to handle it easily in whatever way needed without strain or accidental commands, or God forced, actually dropping it.
REMEMBER the Law of Computing: Thou shalt Not Design for Aesthetics over Functionality!