first FPse is able to run well on a 1ghz processor, like the xperia play which is able to run all games at full speed in software mode without frameskipping (except perhaps tekken3 which need frameskip).
But the reason why other devices are slower with the same cpu/gpu is just because sony has put a very fast SDram into this phone... no mistery
After , all devices have good things and bad things , for example, take the Nexus 4, very powerfull cpu, but the gpu is not very well optimized, it's surely because of slow SDram i suppose. So in Softmode you'll get full speed and more, while in opengl, you'll get mid speed compare to a Galaxy SIII... hopefully frameskipping does its job.
Now it's up to you, i can tell you that if you want a phone mainly to play, take the Xperia play, even is screen is old now, the hardware is still impressive.
If you search for high end device, just to play with maximum specs, you have the Galaxy SIII or the Nexus 4, in4,7/4,8 screen size. other devices with last tegra 3 version like the one included into the Nexus 7 would worth a lot i think too...
If you search for a smaller device ,good screen , the motorola razor-i is impressive...
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