I've used both Halliday and Giancoli, though the latter I used as a Freshman back in 2002 for first semester physics and the former I used as a post-bac student in 2006/07 when I completed the second semester.
I do have to strongly disagree with previous reviewers that the problems are of a difficulty beyond that of the chapters. I had an amazing teacher, but often I found that a problem wasn't exactly like one he went over in class--which is a good thing as the only way to learn physics meaningfully is to spend long hours working away and trying to figure out a problem until that "aha!" moment. There really is no better way to grasp the fundamentals--and this is extremely important depending on your major (such as engineering).
I also found the text to be lighthearted--something you rarely find in texts these days. There are many problems that made me quietly laugh while in the library, often involving penguins or a jumping armadillo (when I later TA'd physics, my students and I had a discussion on whether armadillo's can actually jump; none of us knew the answer...)
This text really helped me learn physics--I missed two lectures and I was able to still do the problems assigned and understand the material covered on my own, albeit at a much greater investment of time compared to how it would have been had I made it to the lectures. I will agree the text is difficult, but that is the way calculus-based physics should be.
Physics is only ever easy for two reasons--one, because you're following cookie-cutter formulas and the material simply isn't testing your knowledge well enough. Two--because you've labored over and over (or maybe not too long if you're an Einstein) and understand the material and can apply it to a situation you have never seen before, with ease. After you have that understanding, the simple beauty of the physical laws of nature will amaze you.
And then when you take quantum mechanics/physical chemistry you find out a lot of what you learned in introductory physics was basically crap and that the world is much more complicated, and equally more amazing. But the "crap" you learned is good enough for 99.9% of problems you will encounter in everyday life.