Yes they work great. You need to establish your development times for specific film developer combos as you usually need to cut development time 10% to 15% from standard agitiation methods.. I have a pair of CPE2s with the lift and never had a problem with them. I use the 1500 drums for 35, 120 and 4x5 and converted a print drum to process 8x10. I process up to 3 rolls at a time, 6 4x5s. The tanks are light tight so they can also be used for hand inversion or stand development.
for 4x5 it works very well although some people really curse the 1500 4x5 reels, they are easy to laod once you practice. 6 sheets are about as comfortable as I get using a single tray so it works for me.
I agree that the CPA has a better motor, but when i bought my first CPE2 the price difference was quite high. I bought the second CPE2 because I was told the motors wear out quickly. But mine has run steadily for about 4 years.
One key is to keep the gears and shafts libricated with some vaseline or similar product.
I do use it for B&W but tehy were the standard for home color processing for many years.