From personal experience the tax hit can lead to family issues as well as financial if you are not aware. I was hit with one that basically had my wife forbid any future action with E14 since we ended up owing hundreds of dollars and had no budget for that for my "hobby". :-) Took awhile with heavy emphasis on my better educating myself before even looking at some of the E14 offerings. Tony Stark with financial freedom I am not!
The tax problem is indeed gloomy.
The current rate is 600 dollars or below.
I find that it's either around the 1-200 range, with stuff like EV kits being in the 100 category, PLC's being in the 200, some other stuff.
Or, it's 2 super expensive but super awesome devices, in the 5-10K range.
Or, you'd find a kit, like the recent ISELED? kit. from.. NXP?
That was just over 600.
"I personally look for items that are lower cost and more likely to intrigue the beginner/middle level maker to try something."
I'm not the best person in this, and thus I would not apply to advanced RoadTests. I'd say, however, I could do a... reasonably ok job at some devices around 100 or less.
I think I got a C+ to a B- on the quality of my first roadtest I finished just a few days ago.
Perhaps I am an odd ball, or maybe just the tax factor for US participants is too gloomy/painful to me, but personally I prefer not to see large price items being offered as a road test if I am interested in trying them. Kudos to all the great testers that can test out thousands of dollars of equipment and not get slapped by the Government, and I have enjoyed looking at some of their reviews, but I personally look for items that are lower cost and more likely to intrigue the beginner/middle level maker to try something.
I love posting something and seeing others trying it out and enjoying the thrill of working with something new. I am making an assumption here, but the number of E14 and others that can easily afford to jump on a multi thousand dollar piece of equipment I am guessing is low. And for some of them that I know they are already gaining access to some stuff due to their work using it already. I know through my work I have had great opportunities to play with equipment I would never imagine having for personal use.
I believe the current limit is under $800 to avoid the tax punishment? That is a LOT of fun equipment potential! :-)
I would say that I'd be pretty interested in development boards.
For example, I'd be reasonably interested in RoadTesting a MaaxBoard(yes there was a roadtest on that once I know), a Banana Pi, and other stuff like that.
A Raspberry Pi would be interesting, but I'd expect for the competition to be very high.
For development board MCU type, I'd say I'd be usually interested but for some would not have the expertise.
On the other hand, I am not able to roadtest high-priced things as I usually don't feel experienced enough. In addition to that, it would really require me to spend all evening during a month for reviewing.
Here's my hit-and-miss rate
What it mostly indicates is that I often apply for tests that have a low number of enrollers. Where - if you ignore the 20+ % of incomplete proposals, you have a 1 to 3 chance of being selected if you enter a good proposal..
For popular tests, I've been successful once. With the Keithley DMM 6500.