Android Central Verdict
The Valari Gaming Pillow is a comfortable, easy solution for improving posture that many mobile and console gamers, book lovers, and tablet users will love.
Easy to assemble
Comfortable to use
Relieves pressure on shoulders, neck, and back while gaming, using phones and tablets, or reading
Folds and clasps into a ball-like shape for storage
Premium and standard editions available for different price points
Not inclusive for all sizes with its non-adjustable closure
Still bulky, even when folded
Made from 100% polyester (not necessarily a con, depending on personal preference)
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Is your text neck so bad that you haven’t seen the sky in weeks? Do you try to stand up after hours of gaming only to find your spine as curled as a cooked shrimp? Is your gamer lean so mean that you’re developing elbow indents on the tops of your knees? If yes, you could probably use some extra support from the Valari Gaming Pillow.
High-tech ergonomic gaming chairs have been gaining popularity for years. Pull up almost any Twitch or YouTube stream to watch and there's a good chance that the streamer is sitting in a DXRacer or EasySMX gaming chair.
Even if you don't know the brand names, you'd likely recognize the outline of the prominent headrest, high-sloping sides, and tall armrests, usually in some combination of black with red, white, or blue accents. These artfully designed chairs are intended to provide their owners with maximum comfort and support for the hours and hours of sitting many gamers clock every day.
But what about us couch gamers out here? Do we not also need better support while we spend our hours and hours gaming on our beloved consoles and phones? Of course we do! And the Valari Gaming Pillow is here to fill that void of ergonomic accessories for couch gamers.
Riding the wave from its successful Kickstarter campaign, the Valari Gaming Pillow hit the market touting itself as a product by gamers, for gamers. With a tapered circular shape (like a wonky donut) and generous plush volume, the Valari Gaming Pillow is designed to wrap around the waist, supporting the elbows, forearms, and wrists while gaming, thereby relieving pressure on the shoulders, neck, and back.
Two versions of the Valari Gaming Pillow are available, Rare and Legendary editions, retailing for $56 and $79 respectively. The more cost-efficient Rare edition comes in a single color of four available options, has a cotton-like feel to the fabric, and sports a plastic clasp at the tapered sides.
The Legendary edition is two-toned on top and bottom (seven color combos available), has a suede-like feel to the fabric, sports a line of piping around the outer seam, has embroidered design accents on some color combos, and has a brushed metal clasp at the far edges. This review is based on the Legendary version, which Android Central was able to have custom-embroidered by Valari.
Both versions measure roughly 27.5x27.5 inches square (70x70cm), are made from 100% polyester (both outer sleeve and pillow insert), and have a removable fabric sleeve around the dacron-filled pillow insert, with both the sleeve and the pillow being machine washable.
Vacuum-sealed for easier shipping in big, flat, square boxes, the Valari Gaming Pillow requires light assembly. Just remove the outer sleeve and the pillow from the shrink-wrap plastic packaging, let the pillow rest for an hour or two to expand to its full size, and then cram the pillow into the sleeve via the hidden zip closure at the inner seam.
It's easiest to start with one of the small ends first and make your way around, continuously smashing and cramming, until you're able to get the other side into its home. It does need a bit of ham-fisting to get it in there at first, and you'll probably have to sit or lean on it to flatten it out to close the zipper, but your pillow will be complete in minutes with a tiny bit of elbow grease.
What's it like to use?
Once your pillow is all zipped up, you’re ready to game hard. The whole idea behind the Valari Gaming Pillow is that the extra support for your arms, and the controller (or phone, book, or tablet) in your hands, improve your posture and allows you to game for much longer without putting added strain on your neck and back.
So, does it work? This gamer says yes. I’ve been using my Valari Gaming Pillow for a little over two months now and have found it to be a lifesaver, or at least a shoulder saver, during what I call “flat-butt gaming sessions”.
It can’t completely stop you from having bad posture, the Cyboss Couchdesk can't even do that, but even settled back on my couch with my feet kicked up, the pillow still did the one thing that I needed it to—support my arms and take pressure off my shoulders. I don’t always use it of course, but any time I’m feeling fatigued or strain, or even tingling in my hands and wrists from poor blood circulation, I know it’s time to break out the Valari.
One of the nicer conveniences about the pillow is that it can be curled in on itself and clasped together into an oblong ball shape when not in use. On the other hand, it’s still pretty big, even when folded, but it’s easier to store as a squishy ball than as a huge donut.
I do have some reservations about keeping it folded up though, as I had to smash mine up *very* tightly to get it to a point where I could get the clasps together. Only time will tell if the clasp can hold up to prolonged bouts of storage.
I imagine that the ideal way to store the pillow over longer periods of time would be to re-seal it in a reusable vacuum-seal bag as many people use for their bulky winter coats and blankets.
Alternatively, the Valari proved to be a real hit among the feline members of my household, so some gamers out there may find that you store it as a pet bed when not in human use.
So are there any firm downsides to the Valari Gaming Pillow? These might largely come down to personal preference. If you’re not a fan of polyester, that’s going to be a tick in the con column for you. Personally, I would have liked a 100% cotton sleeve, but that would surely impact the price point and would make the pillow sleeve less pliable, so I understand why polyester was the choice here.
Additionally, the straps at the clasp aren’t adjustable, so you may not be able to close the pillow behind your back depending on your body type. That being said, you don’t necessarily *need* to connect the clasp, but it does provide more stability when fully closed. I would love to see this product incorporate more size-inclusive hardware in the future.
I've also noted a number of Kickstarter backers reporting very slow or delayed shipping as recently as early 2023, so some buyers may experience supply chain issues.
My last con is really more of a wishlist item for Valari than a viable complaint. I would love to see more color options added to the lineup. There wasn't a single pastel, pink, or bright white option available! The closest option is the light grey version, which is quite boring in my eyes.
Do we recommend it?
Even with a few minor cons to consider, the price points feel accurate to the product you’re getting and the Valari Gaming Pillow could easily become an indispensable addition to any gamer’s setup. Whether it be mobile or console gaming, I’m already getting a lot of mileage out of mine and would recommend it to anyone else.
I would particularly put this on your list for gamer gifts if the gamer in your life already seems to have everything.
A lifelong gamer, Mogan has had a controller in hand since the PlayStation 1 ruled the world and Neopets seemed eternal. She loves to play new and old games alike, especially if it's something weird and charming. Puzzlers, JRPGs, adventure, and rhythm games are her favorites.