To those asking about the new passports, I can say only this: mine is the new blue one. Its internal design is significantly different from the red one. The old title page has been replaced with a new type bearing the holder’s photograph, the number and a 50p-shaped 19-20mm wide hexagonal laminated window that shows your picture on page 3 behind (see below). At the top is a hexagonal outline with the title ‘Series 3’ in it. Page 2, the back of the title page, has all your details on it with main photograph and machine-readable strip as before. The main photograph is now 34 by 43 mm. In the old red passports it was 32 x 40 mm.
The title page with page 2 is much thicker and more rigid than in the old red passport (even more so than the cover). They’re covered with heavy laminate and on p. 2 this is embossed with the large letters UK and various parallel elliptical lines, as well as other features designed to resist forgery or alteration. There is also a tiny panel with your photograph once again and your birthdate printed over this little picture. This laminate bothers me. It’s so firm I can see it beginning to lift with age or if the edge of the page gets damaged. Keep an eye on that.
Page 3 is for official observations as before and is normal paper. It features a smaller colour version of your photograph in much better resolution than in the old ones, and this is the page that you physically sign on receipt (your signature used to appear on p. 2).
So I find it hard to believe the Passport Office will be issuing such different types side by side. Surely they’ll be only the new ones? The new type is clearly far more secure, or is intended to be.