When you say real time, does it allow 'pausing' so you can post orders?
Yeah, it's real time in the Paradox sense, which means sloooooooow and pausable. I wouldn't let the real-time thing discourage you, I loath real-time games but love Paradox games. There's zero time pressure whatsoever, you can muck along at your own pace (as I do), and pause for as long as you want while you explore all the stats screens, make policy changes, etc. If it's like their other games, you can also configure it to auto-pause when certain events occur.
It sounds like the combat is hands-off like in their other games (a good thing, imo). In the grand strategy tradition, you win your battles by making sure you have superior forces led by superior commanders in conditions that favour you. Paradox games aren't technically even real-time. Nothing happens in less than 1 day increments, including the movement of armies (they move in 1 day jumps). They're like games where things take 10s or 100s of turns to occur, but where you have the game auto process the turns until something happens. Not sure if Stellaris will be identical to that, but I'm guessing it's similar.