While the Xbox One has taken a beating in pre-release chatter and commentary, our sneak peek at the final interface shows that Microsoft does have a coherent vision for how gaming, video and communication can merge together seamlessly.

Yesterday (Nov. 7), Microsoft showed Tom’s Guide what the experience of using an Xbox One will be like when the system launches on Nov. 22. From the dashboard interface to the television guide to the apps, Microsoft let us delve into how Xbox One could be the center of your media world.

Xbox One Home

To appreciate what the Xbox One offers, it’s useful to first consider what the Xbox 360 doesn’t offer. Playing a game on the Xbox 360 is great, but it’s a closed experience. Say I’m flying around a track in driving title “Forza 4″ and get an alert that someone on my friendlist has come online or sent me a message. Then what? I manually pause the game and press the shiny metal button in the center of the controller to open a small pop-up menu to read messages. To get to the main dashboard of apps and choose one such as Netflix, I first have to quit the game.

And now? While racing in “Forza 5,” I press the guide button to enter the dashboard. My game is suspended, waiting there in the main tile (a kind of window) for me to return. The last four apps I’ve used are visible on that Home screen, as well as some Featured tiles, showing what’s new to Xbox Live. I can use the controller to shift to the right to the neighboring Store screen and buy something from one of the four categories there: Games, Movies & TV, Music and Apps.

Or I may shift to the left screen, the Pins page, which displays 15 things I have saved there: games, apps or even specific things from those apps I have favorited, like an album from the music app, a show from a video app or a website from Internet Explorer. I can do any of these things, and my racecar cockpit is just waiting for me in the center of the dashboard. Whenever I want, I go back to it and can be racing again nearly instantly.

Read the full article at Tom’s Guide.