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In my apartment, it seems like I'm on the verge of having 3G reception with my current carrier. It's only if I place and leave my Galaxy Nexus on the window, and in a certain position and time of day, that it would finally switch from EDGE to 3G or HSPA.

Is there any way to help one find out the best position to place the phone around a window? (This would be helpful if one only needs it for WiFi tethering, for example.)

The only thing I found helpful so far is running a speedtest, and then moving the phone whilst the speedtest is still being performed, but since the regular speedtest apps are time-constrained and have several distinct components of the test, this doesn't seem like the best approach around. Maybe there's some way to see 3G signal strength in real time?

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You might wish to take a look at apps like Network Signal Info and RF Signal Tracker, which allow you not only to monitor signal quality, but also show you which cells you are connected to, plus what kind of connection you had (3G/H+/...). You can follow that on-screen (to find the currently best place), and also log it (if you notice "drops", that might be helpful when discussing things with your provider).

Network Signal Info RF Signal Tracker
Network Signal Info and RF Signal Tracker (source: Google Play; click images for larger variants)

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