Yes, I too face the same problem- I thought updating to Oreo might solve the problem but it hasn't ! So even if I customise view and list say only the" exchange/outlook" contacts, in the master phone list I see of course only one entry per contact. But if I search for a name, then it shows one for exchange, one for Duo, one for whatsApp and one for PayTM !!! There is no button where I can manually "link" them . The strange part is that after a while, "some" contacts get linked into a single one, while most do not !
And no, I don't think it is google issue only- the same google contact app works flawlessly in my other Non-Nokia phone- there seems to be some issues ( maybe intermittent) between Nokia 8 and the google contacts app
I doubt the other phones were totally stock Android. Likely they have made modifications to enhance it.
A quick Google reveals that the stock limit to the call history is 500. Talk to Google about this.
Contacts merging again is something I can't see in stock Android 7. Samsung, LG and others have added this themselves. It appears there may be some auto merging going on in some cases. This might be on the phone, or it might be on Google's servers, not sure (I use Outlook account for contacts anyway so I don't see this happen). Again, talk to Google about this.
You can however go to Google Contacts on the desktop/browser and merge there (similarly with Outlook contacts if you use Outlook account for your contacts).
Nokia has said this is stock android with no embellishments except for Camera. That said,
1. Call log limits are from Android, not Nokia
2. Contact list is crazy, but again it's Android's implementation and Oreo hasn't changed anything in that department. But you do have some options here to filter. Open Contacts -> Click on three dots on right hand top -> Customize view -> Customize and then select what contacts you want to see.
It's not ideal but helps. Again, it's Android.
3. Default messaging sucks. Use SMS Organizer from Microsoft. Awesome app and it solves most problems.
4. Yes, I second you there. Need native call recording. It's availabe in Lumia phones. Hardware supports it. Still not sure why Android doesn't provide it.