Yeah, AB is kind of its own thing - it doesn't quite have the scope and command sophistication of Flashpoint, nor some of the finer detail (in terms of controls, not looks) of WinSPMBT. And it's a real-time game, albeit with order delays and the option to play in "rounds" (during which the game cannot be paused - this isn't forced on the player, but can be a neat way to add a layer of challenge.)
It is its own sort of odd beast - yes, mechanically it is definitely most similar to Close Combat, except it is almost opposite in terms of scale. My main hangup with CC has always been that its maps are just too small and its battles a little too scripted to deliver fast, high-casualty combat - but Armored Brigade is anything but small, if anything its maps and scope often feel almost too big, and almost too unscripted at times! What AB has in spades is that it captures the importance of scouting, the long stretches of nothing happening, the sudden, brutal, irreversible nature of armored combat at long ranges, and the fact that from the moment you make contact in a scenario - chaos only increases and your ability to control the situation decreases. It's not always a "fun" game by classical definition, but it gets across some hard truths about this type of warfare in an elegant way. And yes, IMO it is very good at representing realistic engagement ranges for modern (or at least Cold War-era) equipment, especially where armor is concerned.
The main thing to look out for is that it's not always in a comfortable zone for players looking for a certain kind of experience. Its controls feel Close Combat-y, but in reality you often have limited input into how units behave. You cannot simply order a unit (except a mortar/SP gun) to fire on a location or a specific target for suppression - that is for the units themselves to decide (and that's a case in point for many things). On the other hand, you still have to do a lot of work in terms of managing formations of units and getting everybody into the right position - the AI isn't so autonomous as to just be given a general instruction and execution area and going off to do that work on its own. You have to move units or formations there yourself, set up their ROE, and change it by hand as needed. So you're not quite dealing with mostly-mindless drones in your AI that will follow your exact orders - but you're not dealing with units led by clever-thinking leaders, either. It's somewhere in between.
Personally though, I really like it - what AB really has going for it is flexibility and ease of use. It's not hard to learn, and it's one of those games you can jump into almost any time, and whip up an infinite amount of custom-generated battles (or even campaigns) to your preference within minutes, and hop right in and play them. It's an easy go-to if you just feel like some Cold War fighting on a totally unplanned evening. But it's not really like either WinSPMBT or Flashpoint at all - it's a less heady, "what you see is what you get" kind of game. Whereas in those (especially Flashpoint) you have to really learn to digest a lot of abstract information and visualize a complex battlefield in your head - AB is general and often broad-strokes, but very concrete. That is, "tank sees tank? tank shoots tank!" is about the level of sophistication of its combat - even though that combat happens in realistic ranges and, arguably, in general does a surprisingly good job of representing its particular form of warfare.