I just finished reading the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible. It took me over a year since I was obligated to read other versions and reading certain sections for classes I have been taking. I read all of 1 Samuel through Ecclesiastes twice. I have been reading a chapter in Hebrews one at a time as I go through translating it.
One of my first observations is that it is not as smooth in style as the NIV. This is probably because the ESV is much more closely a word for word translation instead of a thought by thought translation. I have used the NIV as my primary translation for over 20 years so the switch my be rough based simply on what I am used to.
While I feel the ESV is a reliable translation, there are passages, I'm not sure they got it right. I feel the same about the NIV, but neither are a bad translation. This issue is much more an observation from a student of the Bible rather than a criticism from a foe of either translation.
One of the biggest benefits of reading the ESV is that it gave me a new translation to read as my goal. I had read the NIV many times. It made it seem more urgent and beneficial to read a new translation.
I feel I am of a friendly disposition with the translators of the ESV. Many of my values in translation is their values. I desire the text to be respected for its word choice.
After reading the ESV, I would like to make it my new translation I read over and over again.