I thought I would offer my opinion now that I have some experience. I am using Artin; it is excellent. The principles are clearly presented, and, what I find most beneficial, the discussion is designed to give an intuitive understanding as well. Concepts and proofs are clearly presented so you don't have to untangle them. When learning a new subject, I find it valuable to have a good grasp of the material and its ramifications. It leads to a sense of confidence and fulfillment.
The problems are divided into two levels of difficulty. Each section (~4 pages) has a small set of problems that are quite doable and enhance your understanding. Then each chapter ends with a set of more challenging problems.
The format (which I personally consider to be very important) is most accessible. Pages are not crammed. Key points are given adequate space so you can visually absorb them. And subscripts are easily seen.
If you really want to have a great learning experience, you can use Artin along with a parallel, free course from Harvard featuring Benedict Gross, which includes excellent videos and class notes. Really outstanding!
Here is the link:
In conclusion, I would also like to offer my personal experience with Dummit & Foote - which is not so endearing. I found the verbiage unnecessarily pedantic. Key principles are embedded in a large number of pages so it's not easy to focus on the salient features. Although it is ~10^3 pages long, some points that are elegantly proven in Artin are just left hanging (not even "left to the reader" or h.w. problems). The format is large pages crammed with smallish print with examples in tiny print. Granted, D&F is encyclopaedic in nature, but aside from furniture, it was the heaviest item I owned. May be good as a reference if you already know what's up.
: Some time and further along, I would substantially modify my opinions of both "Artin" and "D & F."
Artin is still much better to learn group theory with. But after that, Dummit takes over the exposition in D & F and the presentation really takes flight. On the other hand, Artin no longer provides the intuitive insight or as extensive a presentation that Dummit provides in very accessible form.